24 September, 2020

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The Local Medical Graduates & The SAITM

By Hansika Hanthanapitiya

Hansika Hanthanapitiya

Hansika Hanthanapitiya

We have a solution; only if you’re ready to listen; An Open Letter to the Government of Sri Lanka, the Local Medical Graduates and the SAITM

I will get to the solution strait away.

What if the government established a system where every medical graduate, local, local-private and foreign, has to go through THE SAME standard written and viva examinations so that;

  1. Graduates from Colombo Medical Faculty can finally stop saying/thinking that they’re better than all the other local graduates from the rest of the government universities in the country put together,
  2. All local graduates can finally stop pointing fingers at SAITM saying their educational standards are inferior to that of the local graduates’,
  3. And all foreign graduates who want to practice medicine in Sri Lanka, who are from elite universities like Harvard or Cambridge or any other university which has better international recognition than the Colombo Medical Faculty can finally stop turning their noses up at the local graduates cause their medical education experience is far superior to theirs,

Because everyone will be facing THE SAME set of exams which will standardize the quality of medical graduates who will go on to become doctors in our country and they will all have the same level of knowledge and skills. This I believe will be the most effective solution to the problem, considering the current situation.

Now holding one final standard exam to issue the government medical license to medical graduates (much like the medical examination systems in America and most developed countries), along with one-one-one interviews to assess the mental stability and community mindedness of the examinees, will ensure that none of the doctors would get discriminated at the workplace for being not from the medical faculty of Colombo, or a local university- because this happens quite often, directly or indirectly, and I believe that this negativity affects the performance of the doctors in a hospital setting. Most graduates from Colombo Medical Faculty always regard themselves to be superior to others and consequently even the doctors who are better than Colombo Med graduates but are from other local universities feel inferior to them. I’m sure that everybody agrees that this has to stop.

If there was a single board examination for everybody, and only the medical graduates who passed that get to practice medicine regardless of where they went to medical school, then nobody will get to point fingers at somebody else saying that they aren’t as good as them, cause everyone will be equally skilled. This way only the best of the best will get to become doctors and serve the people. Ultimately, isn’t this what everyone wants?

Now for the local graduates who think that only the people who passed local A/Ls with district merits should become doctors, I’d say that if a person is really passionate about becoming a doctor, at any age, they should have an opportunity to at least give a shot at it. That’s what “free” education truly stands for. So if there was a single exam once every year or better yet, twice a year for all the medical graduates who want to practice medicine in Sri Lanka, including the local students (this wouldn’t be an extra exam for you- this could replace your fifth year finals), and only the people who got through this could go on to become doctors, you won’t have any suspicions about their abilities and knowledge, right? Because the people who will pass these exams along with you will be as good as you are?

And wouldn’t this be a better solution than abolishing private medical colleges altogether, and particularly, in this case, the SAITM, since there are already hundreds of students enrolled in it, hundreds of hopeful, scared students, of hundreds of innocent parents just like yours and mine? Wouldn’t it be more compassionate and humane to make sure that they are as good as you before letting them practice medicine, rather than just forcing them to throw away years of their lives?

And about the issue of local graduates getting less employment opportunities because of all the other graduates who will get to practice medicine when they pass the exams, for this I’d say the government can prioritize the placement of local gradates over all the other graduates who will pass the said standardized test. Frankly, these kinds of measures are rather detrimental to a country’s development, but this method would prevent a lot of future riots from the local graduates, so at the end of the day, this method will be better for the people of my country. So this ought to solve all the problems that the local graduates have. After all, this is a method biased towards your wellbeing just because you are a local graduate, even though all the other people who would have passed a standardized examination along with you should have got an equal eligibility for a job placement.

Also, about the local medical students wanting the future generations of students to have better access to local medical schools, yes of course this is a very valid point to rally for. But why should that abolish private medical colleges, in a scenario that a standardized examination system exists to screen doctors with the most exceptional knowledge and skills? Yes, I agree that the existence of a medical school that you can pay and enter alienates good students who couldn’t get into a local medical school or a private one because of financial issues, but at the same time if the government establishes a standardized examination system for all, sub-par students from private medical schools will never get to practice medicine anyway. And they can’t protest or rally about it either- because if you aren’t god enough to be a doctor, you just aren’t. It’s as simple as that. But yes, as for the rest of the good students who have the potential to get through a standardized medical examination, but couldn’t get into a local or private medical school, keep rallying for them. They need you. But the point you also need to understand here is that people who have the capacity to pay for a private medical school will somehow send their child to one, be it local or foreign. So wouldn’t it be better if our country could retain all those millions and billions of hard earned money of these people within this country itself, by establishing private medical schools? Wouldn’t it be better for our county’s development? Now again, don’t forget that these graduates would have to face the standardized exam along with you, so you need not fear that mindless people will go on to serve as doctors and endanger the lives of patients.

I know what you’re thinking right now. All of these opportunities to facilitate medical education would produce thousands of medical graduates each year wouldn’t it? Yes, it most certainly would. And then the government wouldn’t have job placements to offer them even if they pass the standardized exam? Most definitely yes. There’s only a limited number of opportunities available to become a doctor in a small developing country like Sri Lanka, and even if thousands of people had the knowledge and the skills to become a doctor, only hundreds would actually get the opportunity. But maybe, this way, two very important social changes could be finally brought about in the Sri Lankan society;

  1. Being a doctor (or an engineer or a lawyer for that matter) is not the only kind of job that matters. If anything, the scientists who are engaged in medical research should be hailed well above the clinical doctors (they are hailed well above clinical doctors in developed countries- it’s just that most people in our country seem quite unable to look past the alleged glamour of certain professions) because they are the ones that enable the clinicians to perform the miracles that they do in hospitals every day. Now that’s the kind of work that’s reserved for the truly elite minds of the world, medical and other scientific research. So maybe, just maybe, this system will bring about collateral benefits like development in the areas of scientific and medical research.
  2. People who are not truly and absolutely passionate about medicine would stop getting into medicine. There are people that I personally know who are doing medicine just because they got 3As and got selected to medical school, not because they are passionate about spending long hours tending to patients day and night. I believe that this is the root cause for the doctors’ dissatisfaction about their salaries and other privileges. The truth is, the doctors in our country don’t get paid as much as they should be paid, so unless only the people who are truly and unconditionally passionate about treating patients day and night become doctors (until the government is rich enough to pay the doctors a staggering monthly salary), we will never see the end of doctors going on strike compromising the lives of their patients in order to ask for more privileges.

When thinking about the whole SAITM predicament, it doesn’t make sense as to why any parent would spend their life’s savings to send their kid to a medical school, which is quite new and does not have the Sri Lankan Medical Council approval and also is rather expensive compared to some of the foreign universities that they could have sent their child to, which have better international recognition and facilities. If you were living under a rock about sending your child to study abroad, all I’ve got to say is that your conservative ideas and conformity and fear of change might have cost your child a future in the worst case scenario that the government is forced to shut down SAITM. Nothing is certain in a country like ours until it’s actually done; it was foolish to gamble away a child’s future on SAITM’s promise to get all the necessary approvals- which they still hadn’t delivered on, just because you were too conservative about your child getting a foreign education.
And to the management of SAITM, if you had any business acuity at all, you would have spent all the millions of rupees you spent on building the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital to develop the infrastructure facilities of a few government hospitals which are not teaching hospitals, and asked for permission to let your students practice in those hospitals. That way;

  1. You won’t be interfering with the education of local medical students by over populating their teaching hospitals
  2. And local hospitals would get a contribution from the SAITM’s money, which is a win-win situation for both the government and the people of this country, plus your students could have received a well-rounded government university level clinical experience as well.

You should have had the foresight to know that no matter how many MRI machines you buy for your hospital, people are going to be wary of a new hospital attached to a new private medical school, and rightfully so. After all, it’s peoples’ lives and health we are talking about here, everyone is only going to trust the hospitals they already know of.

Lastly on the subject of vehicle permits that some of the recent strikes of the doctors were about, how exactly does one make up his/her mind to abandon human beings in need of their care for any material thing?

I study medicine too and I’m here not because of the things I can take, I’m here because of the things I can offer, to my people and my beautiful little country, and all other people from countries all over the world, because in the end, it doesn’t matter if somebody is the prime minister of England or a farmer in Vietnam or our next door neighbor in Sri Lanka, when they’re sick, they will be weak and vulnerable and needing all the care they can get, and we will be the ones providing it. Isn’t each of us as human as the rest of us? First, do no harm.

*Hansika Hanthanapitiya is a medical student at the Tianjin Medical University, China

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Latest comments

  • 50
    3

    Writer discuss mostly on how to absorb students passing out from private madical colleges.
    Before that one must concentrate on who should be granted to enter medical faculty.
    Writer further says if someone has desire to become a doctor he/she shoul be given a chance.
    So lets take England for an example.
    In UK you dont get chance to enter medical college since one just fond to be a doctor.
    You need to have highest results for A/L. Most of the time AAA or AAB in science subjects.
    And only about 8500 can enter medical colleges though there are more than 82000 applicants per year.
    In UK they have 32 government medical colleges and one private college which is non for profit and only grant 70-80 students per year.
    And when once GMC claimed the private medical college not up to the standerds that private college refunded full amount to students and stoped taking students until they were granted permission by GMC,UK.

    So what about SAITM,
    SAIM got BOI approval for South Asian Institute for Technology and Management later themself change the name as South Asian Institute for Technology and Medicine.

    SAITM took students while SLMC repeatedly saying its not up to the standers, and still continue to do so.

    Profit oriented institution, takes about 200 students per year, and takes 1.1million from each, when still dont have SLMC approval.

    All those money goes to a private oranization and sue the government to train the students.

    Its being said that SAITM is the world’s first medical college to take students without a Hospital at the begining.
    Up to date recommended number of beds not filled with patients to teach those huge number of students.

    Then what about SAITM entry qualifications? Does the method of taking students fair and appropriate? Are they taking students with AAA,AAB like in UK?
    All know many politicians’ relatives are there. Students from doctor parents are more than 300.
    And best part is SLMC report says there are students without even minimum A/L qualifications in SAITM. That means without three “S” or who have not done science subjects.

    People must think about these facts before thinking how to absorb them in to government service.

    • 16
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      [Edited out]

      • 7
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        KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

        “[Edited out]”

        This is the best ever comment you have published in this forum.

        Thanks for keeping it brief.

        • 2
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          Dear Native,

          Nothing to worry mate,

          No wonder I couldn’t get into Medicine..

          • 4
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            KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

            ” No wonder I couldn’t get into Medicine..”

            This the best thing ever happened to the people of this island.

            Thank you,

            Thank you very much.

            Vellala bless you.

            • 0
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              Native
              It looks like sumane is insulting himself!

              • 1
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                Ken robert

                “It looks like sumane is insulting himself!”

                Self-mockery is not his forte.

                However, he seems to thrive on mockery.

    • 3
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      Correction: Its 11 millon rupees, not 1.1 million

    • 2
      1

      That is because the main problem is “how to absorb students passing out from private madical colleges.”

      If you read the article more closely and with an open mind, you’ll see that the writer has provided a really good and fair solution for your main concern. (which I hope is, the health care of Sri Lanka being of high quality, and not the earning potential of a doctor in sri lanka)

      Problem : “Then what about SAITM entry qualifications? Does the method of taking students fair and appropriate? Are they taking students with AAA,AAB like in UK? All know many politicians’ relatives are there. Students from doctor parents are more than 300. And best part is SLMC report says there are students without even minimum A/L qualifications in SAITM. That means without three “S” or who have not done science subjects.”

      The proposed solution : “the government established a system where every medical graduate, local, local-private and foreign, has to go through THE SAME standard written and viva examinations” so if the teaching of SAITM is in fact sub standard, and if it’s got students “not fit to study medicine” they’ll have a hard time scoring par to their colleagues who studied in local medical schools.

  • 7
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    “What if the government established a system where every medical graduate, local, local-private and foreign, has to go through THE SAME standard written and viva examinations so that;”

    Poor hansika,

    Do you not read anything about the GMOA and its antics? Or of the horrors the big wigs in this country are up to?

    You are naive to believe that in this blessed country of ours there will be an examining body that can run a straight line even for two months running!

    I suppose it is ok to dream but here the best yahapalanaya will have to bow to the absolutism of the art of the possible and there are great artists in that field here.

  • 8
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    I forgot to mention another issue. A common examination was introduced for foreign graduates and local graduates at one point (approximately 5 years back if I am not mistaken). The pass rate for foreign graduates was about 5% after two examinations and it had to be changed again. So it was not something that was not attempted before.

    Secondly, this I write to all the SAITM students –

  • 21
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    A common examination was in fact introduced for foreign graduates and local graduates at one point (approximately 5 years back if I am not mistaken). The pass rate for foreign graduates was about 5% after two examinations and it had to be reverted. So it was not something that was not attempted before.

    Secondly, this I write to all the SAITM students – you are fighting at the wrong end of the battle. Instead you should be trying to figure out a way to get your degree – and if at all possible a Sri Lankan University Degree – talk to the government, try to get yourself absorbed to a government faculty etc. This has been done before. The government let your administration run the place, waited till they lied to your parents and got their money. They have to give you a recognised degree if they are not (correctly in my opinion) recognising the SAITM degree. This will be a much better opportunity in my opinion as you’d be getting a degree recognised – more importantly by the WHO and international community. I hope you are well aware that if you get a SAITM medical degree you will not and never be able to practice medicine in another country as SAITM is not recognised by the WHO as a
    Think beyond getting the Dr prefix or practising in Sri Lanka. (Ref: https://search.wdoms.org). This is where any country will look before allowing you to sit for their qualifying exam.

    Students of SAITM have been mislead and used by the administration to achieve their goal. It is a crime in my opinion.

    • 6
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      I am happy to note that at last GMOA has stated yes today at a meeting with RW that they are not against private medical education. This is great.

      What is required is to allow govt hospitals to be used for clinical training and charge the private med schools for such usage.

      So simple!!!

      Let there be a a common exam for all medical students so that it is fair and transparent.

      What is the issue?

      • 0
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        For GMOA to say yes to private medical education, RW would have said no private practice for them !

  • 8
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    How is it nobody criticises those rubbish mba’s being granted at the drop of a hat through various institutions ‘affiliated’ with foreign universities? A glance on google shows that not a single one of these programmes is accredited by AMBA, EQUIS, or AASCB that are the only worldwide bodies accepted to give accreditation for MBAs. Further, the teaching quality is very poor and most of the lecturers can barely converse in english nor are they aware of latest research. All of the funds are repatriated out of the country to these so called universities, while the country loses its foreign reserves. People are willing to spend exhorbitant amounts on cars and houses, but settle for these cheap MBAs while the authorities turn a blind eye. This has devalued the worth of a student who has worked hard for one abroad, not just bought for money, and the market suffers from a lot of worthless paper qualifications.

  • 22
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    OK, I simply explain about the message she tried to give you all. Medical students and Doctors (local and foreign) knows the truth unfortunately people in our country are not aware. So see the matter with the open mind.

    1) Are Colombo Graduates better than the others? yes
    Why?
    1.They are the top 200 of their A/Ls
    2.Most of the consultants and Post graduate trainees are trying to get in to NHSL (You may know it as Colombo General Hospital) So the best rankers and well experienced ones are getting it and they are the ones who teach.
    3.On the top of above two all patients whom were difficult to manage at peripheral hospitals and patients with rare diseases are being transferred to Colombo.
    4.Faculty,Hospital,Hostel. those three are pretty much close to each other where most of other faculties are not blessed with that. So no time wasting in between for all the 6 years. This may sound funny, but it’s really important.

    So Colombo is having the best students, best teachers and best patients. Hence Colombo graduates are having the best exposure, they should be better than the others and most of them are. (Of-course Some non Colombo graduates are far more better than Colombo graduates, but as a whole they are little higher.

    2)Same exam should be given to all.
    Yes, All Local graduates are getting the same paper at the same time (Pass mark 50%) and the foreign graduates (Pass mark 40% or 45%) (as far as I know, Correct me if I’m wrong), by that time Locals have finished their clinical cases, viva, OSCE, you name it they have it. But for the foreign graduates, only those who got through that paper will go for the clinical assessment. Unfortunately most of them won’t get through the written paper. You may think that the trick happens here. But No. Most of Foreign graduates are coming to us (local graduates) before the examination and we teach them, we are giving them our reading materials and we are helping them whenever they need us. Most of the time they are lacking the knowledge, experience and the skill. I’m not condemning anyone but that’s the truth. Why I’m saying this is that I’m having a lot of friends who have completed their degree at foreign countries and I’m sorry to say that all of them are below average. Ask from any local graduate about this, They say the same story, so if you think Locals are more prejudiced ask from foreign graduates they say the same. Every day they are asking questions and all and learning and trying to reach our local graduates standards.

    Once they’ve got through the “Act 16” after facing two or three times they are starting the internship with local graduates, then the real nightmare begins. They are clueless in the wards and all other doctors have to be more alert about what they are doing because they don’t know how to tackle a problem, how to come to a possible diagnosis, How to manage a patient specially emergency management protocols, nothing helps. So the poor co-intern who is the local one has to get the all burden. Believe me this is what happens all over the country. We are telling this because we have taught them, We helped them in managing patients and in every aspect we could. But you need to know the truth.

    3)Whats with SIATM?
    People who are going abroad are at least having three “B”s and they are willing to be doctors. But the story is different with SIATM. There’s no one with two As and one B in SIATM (as if they have just missed the bus). Most of their parent’s are having power and money and majority of them have just passed their A/Ls. Few of the actually failed A/Ls and some of them has not even done biology stream for their A/Ls. So they will be the worst.

    So Local graduates, foreign graduates and SIATM people are three different categories.

    Don’t think that we’re cruel for non locals or jealous of them. They can’t be compared with us and we are way higher than them.

    Still you are lucky to get treated by some good quality local doctors, but your sons and daughters wont be that lucky.

    So re-think about “Do no harm” and “who do harm”

    -From a Local Graduate-

    • 15
      12

      Dear Roshan. Most of your points are wrong and misleading. Here’s why:

      1) I think the correct description would be that they are the combined top 200 from their respective districts. There’s this slight issue that occupants in rural districts are given a lower Z score than those in cities such as Colombo, Kandy and Galle. I know of people who got in to Colombo medical and even Peradeniya medical on Z scores lower than 1.4. Now I wonder what happened to those from the big cities who had Z scores higher than 1.8, but got cutoff because they gave priority to the relative high scorers from other districts. So this so called “cream of the crop” are not the top 200, but rather the top 50 and maybe the students ranked between the top 400 and 600.

      2) I didn’t ask too many local graduates about their impression of foreign graduates that mingle with them during the internship period. No, instead I’ve talked with the actual doctors with more than 10 years of experience about their impression of these foreign graduates. According to the doctors, 90% of foreign graduates perform excellently in their ward runs and internships. In fact, one doctor even told me that the notion that foreign graduates have less training than the local one’s is pure rubbish and those who think so are horribly misguided.

      3) There are several students at Saitm who got 3 A’s. Several who got 2 A’s and one B, and many with one A and 2 B’s. The 3 A’s crowd missed entry to university because of my explanation for point (1) above. Some who got a single B and 2 A’s missed a high Z score because the B was in Physics. And we all know about the glorious yet retarded system of our education system where prospective medics get a higher weight to their Z score from Physics.Even though they learn the same physics again in university.
      So yeah, I don’t think you should be measuring people’s propensity for success based on muddled data and a misguided Zeitgeist.

      • 15
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        For the last 5 or 6 years admission to Colombo Medical Faculty is based only on the island merit rank and there are no one in Colombo Medical Faculty with a z-score of 1.4. And that is a fact.

        • 2
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          @Ramesh
          That’s a lie.

          Just search for z-scores for university admission and you will see a different score for each subject for each district.

          You can also visit the link below for the same.

          https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_3lPPO85-aIbHVNQVVKbEJGVjM5WWNTcnVfRUNNU2d6cTlR/view

          Where are your so-called superior medical ethics?

          • 0
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            Actually all courses 40% of the student are selected based on island rank without considering district rank. For courses offered in more than one university (ex. Engineering MPR and Medicine) the 40% can request for their desired university which will be granted. The rest are located based on available slots and qualifying district.

            As a result of this the average Z-score of students differ a lot. I don’t know whether the best 200 are selected to Colombo but it will have the highest average Z-score among all medical faculties.

            The same is true for Engineering at Moratuwa.

    • 13
      4

      You just said “They can’t be compared with us and we are way higher than them.” That itself shows that you’re very selfish and think very highly of yourself. Who told you that you’re better than them? It is a conclusion that you came to by yourself.
      If you think that you having more marks than them at the A/L exam makes you better than them, you’re very foolish. A 3 hours exam at 19 WILL NOT MAKE YOU BETTER. How can you judge someone by what they did at 19? People evolve and change with time. They may make wonderful doctors in the future. Also most students memorize everything and write for the A/L exam and score well. Does that make them better? no JUST BOOK SMART. They have nothing against local graduates, so why don’t you drop your I_THINK_I’M_SO_PERFECT attitude and let who ever wants to be a doctor be a doctor?

    • 8
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      Roshan – You must a product of Sinhala Only.

    • 4
      5

      You are absolutely right son.

      B graders don’t make good doctors.

      I don’t want to even go to a doctor who sat AL three times..let alone to a one who bought the MBBS..

      Study of Medicine is something the Politicians and the Elite haven’t been able to control yet.

      Don’t give them that opportunity..

      • 2
        1

        KASmaalam K.A Sumanasekera

        “I don’t want to even go to a doctor who sat AL three times..let alone to a one who bought the MBBS.. “

        The best Doctors are the Vedda mathayas.

        • 0
          0

          Dear Native,

          Do your Thamizas go to Vedda Mahaththayas?.

          My elders tell me our old Sinhala dudes with Dr ( any ) in front have done Naturopath courses and practice as Auyrvedic Doctors ,

          Some even read horoscopes of our Sinha – le chicks whose parents want to arrange marriages….

          While our MBBS doctors who went for Asylum are working as security guards and office cleaners.

          Is it true?..

          • 2
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            KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera (Dr No)

            “Do your Thamizas go to Vedda Mahaththayas?.”

            You should ask your Tamil brethren.

            Nature is the best medicine. You could find cure for your erectile dysfunction. If you are distressed please try Korean ginseng, onion, ginger, garlic, guava, drumstick, …. and a woman who has lots and lots of patience.

            For your other dysfunctions I am sorry to say the nature hasn’t found any cure yet.

            • 0
              1

              Dear Native.

              Don’t tell me you know one of my ex disgruntled girl friends.

              You seem to be lacking something about our Sinha Le.

              Don’t you know that monkeys won’t walk even in their sixties.

          • 0
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            The Sri Lankan graduates in fact don’t work as guards but they do just as fine as the rest of the world in Medicine because the basic sciences taught in Sri Lankan Med schools especially Colombo is highly praised by the rest of the world and not the fellow Sri Lankans

    • 2
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      Roshan

      IF…IF our local doctors are Sooooo good,

      Why are many of our esteemed politicians going overseas for check-ups and medical treatment?

      What do they know, that we don’t?

      Answers please on the back of this post-it note.

  • 15
    1

    Hansika

    Impressed of your humane nature. Most medicos everywhere in the world lose it when they graduate as doctors and that’s probably why there was a country-wide strike of doctors took place last week in the UK! if you don not believe me please check the below news item from Telegraph

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/nhs/11887308/How-much-are-junior-doctors-paid-and-why-are-they-threatening-to-strike.html

    Now you miss a major point. We can allow a common exam again if needed but for only for the students who graduate from a recognised (proper in simple terms) medical school. You talk to the GMC UK and see, or to its counterpart in Australia. Your application will be rejected immediately if you are from an unrecognised institution.

    Can a medical school without a teaching hospital and without most of the subspecialties be recognised? And that is why the SLMC has not recognised the local private university.

    Final exams are there to make sure that the benchmark is reached, They are NO replacement for a good training which cannot completely be assessed in an exam. That is why accreditation and recognition matters. Wait till you finish your training and you will realise that exams can measure so much and how limited they are when it comes to professional training.

    Finally will you send your father or mother who is in Sri Lanka to be treated by a person passed out from a Medical school which do not have facilities for a proper training, even if she had passed the final exam that was there for the common medical graduates?

    Unfortunately you have published this article (or you were given the chance to publish this) at a time when the local graduates are fighting for their right to preserve their own clinical pasture. It has more than a tinge of bias towards SAITM. Timing is so correct.

    And lastly, money matters. And that is why a medical education has become a business both in Sri Lanka and in China. (and for that matter where ever there is private medical school) And the money is not retained in Sri Lanka. Check affiliations of all the private Unis here. They pump money out. In that sense, they are like any multinational which claim “our own product”. The exemplary deceivers.

    And money matters for the doctors as well. Come back and work for a starting salary of a doctor and see whether you can live a reasonably OK life. Probably a visit to your hairdresser would cost one sixth of it and you will realise why the doctors do private practice and teachers engage in tuition which you probably had while studying for A/L here.. If possible all other professional should be allowed to do as well.

  • 5
    9

    Hansika, you say, “along with one-on-one interviews to assess the mental stability and community mindedness of the examinees,”.

    Well I am amused. Leave the mental stability aside. Doctors being community minded? That is a first. All the doctors I have met in Sri Lanka are only purse minded. All want to be dostara mudalalis. Did you see our dostara mudalili’s recent antics – petulantly demanding duty free cars and getting it. These community minded doctors took billions of rupees from the poor community importing cars they did not need, duty free, and promptly selling them off for a fat profit.

    • 2
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      I am a doctor and I can clearly state that I have not done private practise nor got the car permit. Not just me, a bunch of whole other doctors do not do private practise, especially most close friends I know.

      INTERNship is the first job an doctor gets.
      We don’t have leave then. We work everyday.
      I did oncall every thirds day and no break next day and carry on working.
      I use to have every third weekend Sunday off to spend with family.
      The interns salary is 30000 and that’s what we get at the age of 25.
      Many peers working other jobs earn three times that salary.
      I drove a Maruti during my entire Medical Carrier in Colombo.

      There are docotrs who do private practise but sadly how the comment phrases All doctors are mudalali is not at all true.

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    You just said “They can’t be compared with us and we are way higher than them.” That itself shows that you’re very selfish and think very highly of yourself. Who told you that you’re better than them? It is a conclusion that you came to by yourself.
    If you think that you having more marks than them at the A/L exam makes you better than them, you’re very foolish. A 3 hours exam at 19 WILL NOT MAKE YOU BETTER. How can you judge someone by what they did at 19? People evolve and change with time. They may make wonderful doctors in the future. Also most students memorize everything and write for the A/L exam and score well. Does that make them better? no JUST BOOK SMART. They have nothing against local graduates, so why don’t you drop your I_THINK_I’M_SO_PERFECT attitude and let who ever wants to be a doctor be a doctor?

  • 2
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    Has any independent body carried out a survey to find out the standards of the
    medical colleges in other countries,lot of our students enter and get the professional qualifications.Having obtained the MBBS they finally get into the
    local hoapitals.Treat our patients. Many who oppose SAITM Students are the Doctors who are products of the foreign Medical colleges. If not Doctor parents who were financially sound who could send their offsprings to get qualified in Foeign lands.Many such students are not qualified to enter Srilanka Universities because they have not obtained sufficient marks.But with the monies earned by the parents they go abroad and get qualified from unknown Universities, we are sure the standards are much lower than SAITM

  • 2
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    The writer is saying about a common examination for all the medical students to take but isnt the a/l s such a system that already exists? According to you People who don’t get enough marks at the al s should be given a second chance to study medicine and there should be another exam at the end to allow them to practise as a doctor and you are saying that if they fail it they should accept the fact that they cannot work as doctors? But shouldnt they realise it after they did their als? I say your solution wouldnt work and these ppl would ask for another chance and so on after they fail that exam too. It shouldnt be about an individuals personal dream or goal to become a doctor it should be about if a person really has what it takes to be a doctor.

  • 2
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    OK. There inouts from persons caught up within this doctor training cycle.
    its good to put forward your views for all to understand and hopefully arrive at a common concensus.
    There is no point attacking anyone.

    Let this discussion on Govt medical college and Private medical college students be frank.
    Lrts see the advantages & disadvantages & successes.
    WE NEED DOCTORS………. THE SICK DEPEND ON THEM.
    All we have to discuss is how we could create well rounded medical practioners to serve the masses at the end of the day.

    Please keep the debate going with sanity.
    I believe everyone has something to offer and some truth.
    I hope medical students both Govt & private will contribute suggestions as to to the GOSL over come this issue.

    IT IS VERY UGLY TO SEE ASPIRING DOCTORS TAKING TO THE STREETS.
    THESE ARE PERSONS WHO WILL IN FUTURE BE RESPONSIBLE MEDICS FOR THE LIVES & WELL BEING OF THEIR PATIENTS.
    ONCE A PERSON IS SICK A DOCTOR IS LOOKED UPON AS A GOD.

  • 1
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    I just started reading the article. I ll answer the first line. Sri Lanka has an exam called advanced level. It has biology. That has a fraction of what’s taught in med school. Answer that paper and then one can’t imagine what awaits you in med school. If you can put things together I think you have an answer there.true story. :)

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    All the local university graduates will fail the viva ! They have no idea about “community mindedness” and if it is in English…match over !

    These hard cases are not going to fall for such a simple solution.

    Bottom line the majority of those who pass out as Doctors from the local university are not fit to practice the Hippocratic oath and thereby their so called profession.

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      If it is in English… match over.
      SORRY, NOOOOOOOOOO. ..
      The game begins in English.

      Medicine is taught in English in Medical College.
      The text books are English, the lectures are in English and the exams are in English. So how can the match be over.

      IT is indeed the Freedom of speech one would comment on a post but the value of the post or comment relies on whether the person who is posting the comment knows what he or she is talking about.

      I completely understand the point that this comment is trying to make. It says kids of Government Schools or Villages go to Government Medical Schools and they don’t know their English and in addition they cannot even face a viva.

      I was selecetd to Colombo Med School from a Private Girls School in Colombo which used English as the primary language of communication and my parents did speak English. ENGLISH wasnt new to me. Yet from the first day at Med a school I had to compete with my fellow students who might not have been fluent in English yet had sharp minds who knew the English that was needed to study in English.

      In med school one doesn’t need a complex knowledge of English. One needs the proper medical English knowledge which consists of terms which could be remembered with someone who was able to digest everything taught at ALs.

      Moreover, be ashame to be a Sri Lankan. Don’t laugh at people if they fail to speak their English properly because English isn’t our mother tongue. If one cannot speak Sinhala Tamil or urdu properly that is a reason to be ashamed of and not English.

      To practise medicine in Sri Lanka one needs to know their sinhala too because the patient won’t turn up and say “I got a pleuritic chest pain making it is hard to breath but the patient would say “ane dostara mahatma yo mage papuwa ridenawa”…

      What is the Viva?

      Viva comes at all stages of Med School.
      From my experience I know knowing English or coming from a private school or being a good speaker doesn’t pass me with my viva.
      What passes the viva is my medical knowledge.
      Two consultants sit in front of you and for example hands over a bone and say describe it. One has to start rattling on… and for god sake that is thousands times more dteials than what is taught at ALS. Today studying for post grad and working in specialised fields I have realised those little things matter and just like the English speaking peeps all the others do well in their vivas.

      What makes the local graduates not fit for the hippocratic oath?

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      The Sri Lankan graduates in fact don’t work as guards but they do just as fine as the rest of the world in Medicine because the basic sciences taught in Sri Lankan Med schools especially Colombo is highly praised by the rest of the world and not the fellow Sri Lankans

  • 3
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    ‘everyone will be facing THE SAME set of exams which will standardize the quality of medical graduates’.

    Absolutely! Thats what country’s GCE (A/L) do. Every one facing THE SAME set of A/L exams which will standardize the intake to medical colleges (currently government medical colleges only). Now 40% total medical college places are given in island merit basis and remaining 60% are fairly divided into all districts depending on the population of each district. The 60% quota system is very much fair, when country’s 25 district are in different level in terms of access to quality education, educational resources and etc. In such scenario, its not fair to compare Colombo district 100th rank with Monaragala district 5th rank.

    The main issue with SAITM is proper entry standard, which will eventually effect the quality of medical profession. When a person have enough money they can get into a SAITM without even a minimum entry qualifications.

    I personally know several examples for this. In my native district, normally 30-35 top ranked students get into government medical colleges, while other students until 200th rank get a chance to get into government universities to follow a any course. But i personally know, 5 students who were in their 200th rank series, got into SAITM without any issue. (for an easy understanding 195-200)

    Even tough, there are few just missed students enrolled to SAITM, most of the students don’t even have minimum entry qualification for SL Government University admission for any course. certain incidents students who studied Maths enrolled to SAITM.

    Now these students who had enough wealth to get into SAITM, wants to pass out like other A/L top students got into the government medical colleges.

    Meaning, they are demanding for,

    — Undergraduate practicing in government hospital during study like other government medical college students are entitled.

    — Recognise and equalise their SAITM MBBS degree to government MBBS degree.

    — Full SLMC recognition which is currently given for government medical colleges MBBS graduates and ERPM (Formerly Act 16) exam passed WHO accredited foreign medical college degree holders.

    — License to practise medicine in Sri Lanka which is currently given for government medical colleges MBBS graduates and ERPM (Formerly Act 16) exam passed WHO accredited foreign medical college degree holders.

    — Intern practising in government hospital like, other government medical college MBBS degree holders and ERPM (Formerly Act 16) exam passed WHO accredited foreign medical college degree holders are entitled.

    — Include them in the list for the placement in government hospital MO appointment. (by Ministry of Health)

    — Post-intern full time hospital placement which is currently given for government medical colleges MBBS graduates and ERPM (Formerly Act 16) exam passed WHO accredited foreign medical college degree holders.

    They are demanding all of these from SLMC and GOSL after they enrolled to a private institution which is not properly recognised by SLMC or GOSL for the above points.

    Students has undergone a private business agreement with profit originated SAITM management, who has given a false promise to students hiding actual facts. Now it’s up to SAITM management to full fill the necessary requirements needed for the recognition of SLMC and GOSL.

    Now SLMC demands SAITM to obtain proper recognition from SLMC by fulfilling necessary requirements. Then SAITM student can sit for ERPM (Formerly Act 16) exam like other SLMC recognized private university students do and eligible to practice medicine in Sri Lanka. This will ensure the already in place standardization the quality of medical graduates and practicing in Sri Lanka.

    Further, it’s up to UCG to regulate the entry qualifications and intake of the government and recognised private universities in Sri Lanka. They need to perform regular quality assurance for both government and recognised private universities. ‘Everyone will be facing THE SAME set of exams which will standardize the quality of intake to private universities’ will be feasible solution. (again its GCE (A/L) ).

    A minimum qualification (Stream and Z-Score) for intake for each recognised private university courses can be enforced by UGC every year. For other students UGC can enforce the proper top-up paths to achieve the minimum entry qualification status.

    End of the day like you and me, every one aspire for the proper standard in Sri Lankan education system.

  • 5
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    How about a student who achieved AAAA (4 As – Chemistry, Biology, Math & Physics) at London AL and was compelled to enter a SLMC and “FAIMER” recognized Medical School overseas, because private Medical schools are not available in Sri Lanka?
    Does anyone think that he/she is not of the same intelligence level as AAA or AAB qualifiers at the Sri Lanka ALs?
    Please do tell me.

  • 1
    1

    Ok hansika,if u get through all exams you will be able to get ur permit around 2026. Im waiting for that time. If you get ur permit that wuld be the headline in newspaper wth this article. So u say just to offer a service u r spending millions to buy ur degree. Now u r fighting for the same kind of idiots who try to buy mbbs withou going to hospital .

  • 2
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    Hansika Hatttanapitiya is an ignorant, misinformed girl with good knowlegde of English. She proposes solutions which are already in place, solutions which are in place just to stop gradguates of institutions like SAITM killing Sri Lankans and most importantly solutions SAITM WENT SUCH LENGTHS TO CHANGE,EVEN THE CONSTITUTION. So instead of protesting against all LEGAL,SLMC REGISTERED doctors in SL, you should ask for the privilages promised by SAITM to you. SL people or government does not owe you anything,you should ask those from SAITM, you are a freaking PRIVATE college for christ’s sake. One more thing, free education does not mean everyone gets what they want. It means everyone gets an equal opportunity to use the availabe facilities. YOU were given that chance by allowing you to sit for A/L’s thrice, even then uou did not have get in to best 1000 in the COUNTRY. You just had to get in to district quota, which you were unable to do in THREE attempts. So as far as we are concernred you were given a very fair chance and you were simply not good enough. So don’t start being an specialist in education system of you know nothing about young kid!

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    SAITM ppl has to go through ACT 16. How about that as a solution.

  • 0
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    Good article. If the Colombo medical college graduates are superior than the other, why the are fear for the challenge. The criteria of measurement of quality of out put is not the entrance level ,but the final and passing out level . Even the students in state universities , other than Colombo, can prove their ability with hard working through the cause.

    Only problem is why the Government does not consider the truth.? If the SLMC comprises with veterans , they should not follow the Trade union opinion which is selfish.

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