22 March, 2018


The SAITM Medical Degree Issue Should Be Resolved Without Further Delay

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Two years of continuous protests and agitation by the student unions and the Government Medical Officers’ Association against the medical degree course offered by the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine ended last November due to the undertaking given by the government that this medical course will be abolished. Now however, the GMOA and the student unions have expressed concern that the government is preparing to renege on their pledge. Even though members of the government have been saying from time to time that the SAITM was started by my government, this is a private enterprise started by its owners, not by any government.

At the initial stages in 2008, SAITM was called the ‘South Asian Institute of Technology and Management’ and was to offer courses in Information Technology, Management and Finance, Engineering, Vocational Studies, Nursing, Languages and Health Sciences. No mention had been made in the original Board of Investment application about a medical degree course. The BOI had granted approval for the enterprise on the condition that approval will be obtained from the Ministry of Health before providing training in Health Sciences. SAITM had commenced enrolling students for a medical degree course from September 2009 onwards. 

From the very beginning, the Sri Lanka Medical Council had been warning the public by way of newspaper advertisements that they do not recognise the medical degree offered by SAITM. In February 2011, this institution changed its name to ‘South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine’. If any private educational establishment wishes to offer a course in medicine, it is entirely up to them to obtain the necessary approvals from the Sri Lanka Medical Council which is the body that oversees medical education and accredits and licences medical professionals in this country. 

A great deal of correspondence has passed back and forth between SAITM, the SLMC, the Health Ministry and the Higher Education Ministry from the time this medical course commenced at SAITM, but they have not been successful in obtaining accreditation for their medical course. My government never interfered in the work of the Medical Council which is an independent body. When the SAITM started its medical course, there was no established procedure whereby a private institution could be accredited to offer medical degree courses. There was no legal provision for the government to prohibit private institutions from commencing medical degree courses either. Since 2009, the SAITM medical degree course has existed in this grey area of the law and the regulatory framework. This can be described as a complication that has arisen due to a lacuna in the law.

After more than two years of agitation by the GMOA and the student unions, the yahapalana government finally announced that the SAITM medical degree will be abolished. Now the parties that spearheaded this agitation complain that this pledge is not being implemented. The government should ensure that there is no further disruption of medical education with university students taking to the streets and medical officers forced into taking trade union action on account of this disputed medical degree course.

Medical education in this country has been at a complete standstill since 2016. In a situation where the students who qualified to enter the medical faculties in 2016 have not yet commenced their courses, the students who passed the A/L examination in 2017 will also be awaiting entry into the medical faculties. Since clinical practice is mandatory in addition to lectures, medical faculties have difficulties in taking in a new batch without the previous one going on to the next stage.

Furthermore, the continuation of this dispute over standards and accreditation in medical education could also place the international status of all Sri Lankan medical degrees at risk. The SAITM issue has already come to the attention of the medical authorities in countries like Britain and Australia with which the Sri Lankan medical profession interacts very closely. Therefore this issue should be resolved in a just and reasonable manner without further delay. 

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Latest comments

  • 9

    Pot calls kettle is black.

    Had this man been wise, he would not have fooled the nation by introducing this SAITM – Ridiculously he has now audacity to talk about solving the problem.

    This man should have got cross implanted his both ends. Enough is enough, the law and order shoudl work to round up this man for all the high crimes deliberately perpetrated by him and his adminsitraton.

    • 7

      “Two years of continuous protests and agitation by the student unions and the Government Medical Officers’ Association”


      Are you a little slow? ………….. SATIM was established in 2009 ……… and till 2015 what did you do?

      Wonder why there wasn’t a single protest during those 6 years eh? …………Your brother supplemented the ambulance service with his white van service to carry away the students unions and the Medical Officers’ Association for “treatment.”

      Not a single protest! ………What a feat! ……… Come back buddy; alls forgiven…………… we are beginning to miss ya…..

    • 1

      I agree 100 per cent

  • 5

    As always, “HE” speaks not making use of the GOD’s GIFT; MOUTH, but “Another Opening” given by the same GOD to dispose impurities of the body. So no WONDER the STINKING SMELL.

  • 5

    There are lot of issues resolved that was created by the previous President Mahinda Rajapakse & his family to this nation. First of all, the whole Mahinda Rajapakse family should be brought under justice for the crimes committed by them.

  • 6

    Rajapakshe becomes naked.

    He has the audacity to talk tabou tth eproblem who initially generated misleading innocient masses in this stupid nation.

  • 6

    Mahinda old friend,

    If I remember correctly, you awarded scholarships for some deserving students who were unable to get in to medical school. If that is correct, weren’t you in support of SAITM? In any case, what was the Health Ministry, Ministry of Higher Education, University Grants Commission etc. etc. were doing in all that time? It all started during your watch, so don’t evade responsibility now.

  • 1

    This is an ex-president who has 60 years of experience in sri lankan politics and talk about issues and not about the system faults.

  • 5

    He created this and now is laughing at chaotic situation he created

  • 7

    He eats grass for all three meals not rice, and all his habits and behaviour shows it. This shameless man and real trouble maker whose period it all started should lift and put his sarong up on his face for his stupidity, and cheap and low ways to score a point in this whole SATIM saga. During his rule it all ok but after it, it’s no good. What kind of human being is he, only God knows?

  • 5

    Will MR instruct his ghost writer to let us know what the solution (or whatever) should be?
    By the way MR says “……..SAITM………..was a private enterprise, not started by any government…….”.
    A ‘private enterprise’ without Basil’s knowledge? Impossible!
    Gota created KDF Medical Faculty. SAITM without Gota’s knowledge?

  • 0

    There these following issues that should be taken into account when a
    settlement is sought :

    1. Government run medical college with GMOA to oversee medical education
    and accredit and licence medical professionals .
    2. Foreign countries that offer medical education to students left out by our
    medical college entry exam with alternative enrolment plans for a fee
    and scholarships which are accredited and licenced by the GMOA while
    raising objections to local alternatives .
    3. The incumbent rulers are being forced to solve it to the dictation of GMOA
    and its backers .
    4. Medical profession in our country loves to be very much Holy to its patients
    than a Service . This mentality is more present in public hospitals where
    patients are not paying directly which is deceivingly called FREE as if
    Doctors and other staffs are working free and medicines are supplied by
    politicians’ personal wealth !
    5. The Govt here is in a real dilemma about how far it can go in private
    education while GMOA as it always does , tries to consolidate its hold
    on its monopoly and the mentality of “GODS” even to the Gods !
    I am not a fan of MARA but he looks raising a valid concern here about the issue .

    • 1

      MR articles written by Carlos licensing and accreditation co. who promised topple govt. MS under pressure or liason to abolish what UNP are guarding for gain and may end corrupt like bond scam. SAITM already being sold. The money in billions belong to the FEE PAYING STUDENTS NOT OWNERS. These students joined UGC and Higher Education authorized Institute, and MR personally as President, scholarshipped some for admissions.
      MBBS of 3 batches were allowed to intern by court verdict and rebels now in court disputing the law and delaying doctors. Who has authority to abolish and nullify an MBBS and the step by step semester subject exams. of MBBS already passed, done during previous govt. as well as this for the last 8 year. Talk of gross injustice and the post MBBS vindictive delay by past SLMC head.

      Also SLMC inspections 2015 gave recommendations for approval, not abolition. SLMC was found violating Medical Ordinance with suggestions of malice. If SLMC now in Supreme Court has validity and legality, let them express and win. No need of politics or corrupt business for medical education in current excellent academic std. at SAITM which like all other schools is not perfect. SLMC mandate is to help improve standards by regular inspection of all medical schools, not to abolish MBBS simply because students were somehow able to finance themselves.
      GMOA struggling to prove low stds. than speak truth to abolish private medicine. Nothing should be done overnight to win elections destroying future of nearly 1000 doctors based on opinions of LAST POLITICAL REJECTS. GMOA integrity requires that they as SLMC members not council, speak the truth, not injustice

    • 0

      why why, Valid concern here is paying for medical education. If it is stds. of exams. for practice which concerns MARA, he should 1st expose his son’s low degree, before MBBS of 960 trained in SAITM, to ruin their healing lives, neither robbing state funds nor murdering nor impeaching. Black will never be white.
      The name of the game is not only to collect votes now but promises of positions later for these deranged and failed jobless utopians to have a last gasp of chaos.
      GMOA is in courts in lawlessness, financed, and wanting the super grade SAITM highjacked for their use. Do justice to an MBBS by which you too are recognized.

      Cant MARA find national poverty eliminating topic to uplift nation to good level of education, to dispute about to catch some votes. No other valid concerns.

      • 0

        My view on MARA is that he must have retired from politics
        after his defeat . But he has a right to talk about SAITM
        dilly-dally just because the govt members keep calling him
        responsible for the approval of the institute which I feel is
        childish excuse . Not only his son , even O/L exam sitters
        have been caught cheating this December . Majority of
        those professionals in our country could be low grade
        products in many ways . In the North , they call it ‘Horse
        riding,’ I mean the exam cheating ! In the case of SAITM,
        GMOA is guilty on one instance and that is foreign MBBS
        holders are allowed to sit for local MBBS qualification and
        absorbed into public health service and private practice .
        But they are going to war with SAITM output citing about
        the procedure followed by SAITM to starting and
        continuing the institute ! Well , those issues are not
        unimportant yet not incorrigible . GMOA WANTS TO BE
        the bankrupt politicians who are grasping at straws are,
        just taking advantage . Education in the developed world
        is not exempt from commercial interest . So , it is a
        business for businessmen and not a Cathedral ! All
        professionals in Srilanka have developed a mentality of
        GODLINESS among themselves to be superior to ordinary
        fellow beings and this is the root to all corruptions and
        frauds ! They want to maintain their superiority over
        others at any cost even bypassing the wealthy which in
        our country is not in the hands of professionals !

  • 1

    It seems that MR is having a memory lapse. Why was there no protests before 2015. I suppose the white vans would have done the needful on his orders. The students have now been fooled by this buffon from Muda mulama to carry out protests to boost his sagging political image. He talks from his arse and should not be taken seriously.
    May sanity prevail.

  • 1

    Lasantha and Thajudeen murderers should be sent to gallows without delay, bigger issue than SAITM of which starving villages know nothing about. Political bankruptcy is surfacing.

  • 1

    Oh My Dear Mahinda,

    What fickle memory you have? wasnt it you and government at the time who sanctioned and approved this Medical College?

    Now I wonder if this was another commission deal for you and your family. Stop shedding crocodile tears.

  • 1

    RAMA, a bigger issue is how Lasantha got post mortem report of gunshot injuries, when in reality his brain was pierced with weapons and he was operated and died later. Even bigger issue is the burning of Thajudeen while he had life, and Shira’s security body guards seen at JMO’s office that night and the weird issue of the bones going invisible. Buried dead might get up someday and follow you. Then SAITM wont be an issue of MPs educating the masses in the next generation

  • 2

    this idiot is the one who started all these problems, there are more important issue like thajudeen case, take MRs whole family and lock them up for 10 year all problems will settle on there own

  • 1

    Wonder which end he is taking?

  • 0

    The crux of matter of SATIM has not address by MS and UNP leadership by vacillation between Free -Independent Education of state and Private Degree awarding of Nevilla Fernando’s of SATIM?

    Undoubtedly the problem of key settlements of SATIAM that do not want clear soon by UNP leadership.!
    It has an intention and having different political agenda that proposed by World Bank and IMF dismantle whole govt. originated education could be scraped by policies of UNP line of politics.
    While until that UNP leadership want is drag and dodging issues by SATIM maxim range not to resolved>

    In fact UNP leadership main motive is undermined Free Education at any cost that payment made by of tax payers funding of all Sri Lankan.
    And by given an unwanted an opportunity to Private dealers having degree selling by money.
    Indeed that UNP thinking money is everything on an ideology by orthodox of Ranil Wicks of leadership.

    The UNP played cat and mouse game on Free Education by covered operation by daily basis.
    If any cause that trouble by MR keep beside time being .All mistakes has to be address by current govt. of “good governances” should not blame to other as well.

    • 0

      Amaradasa Salgado: It is high time that the govt took action to clean up the University education and prevent politics from messing up with the student education.There had been stories that some get through the Advanced Level exam via proxies.That should be stopped, this can be done by registering all advanced level students and make available their biometrics prior to entering the exam hall.When they pass the UE exam and are enter the University, ensure that they are capable of following lectures in the English medium.This will make them acceptable to employers here and abroad. they need not waste their time at the Fort railway station.At the point of entry to the University ensure that they sign a bond to pay back the cost of the education at the University.The payment should be based on prorata calculations.If they repeat an examination, the cost of the study should be adjusted upwards.The biometrics will help to prevent them getting out of the country without settling their dues.

    • 0

      A.salgado.The govt should restart the Apothecaries course. The Peradeniya course for non MBBS students should be held as was proposed earlier.No trade Union should be allowed to deny any Sri lankan of his education.

      The blocks that the GMOA placed for the continuous education of the SAITM students and the Peradeniya students should be removed by administrative means. Training those student should be the duty of the Doctors in the respective institutions.If they are reluctant, remove them from those positions and appoint those who are willing to provide the training.

      Regarding the quality of the education at SAITM, I am told that the faculty is made up of ex-Govt owned University faculty members.If those SAITM students are not qualified, how come that the members of the GMOA, trained by the same faculty members prior to their retirement are competent?

      Please read up about Late Dr.W. Padmal de Silva _ A Peradeniya Arts Graduate who became a Medical Doctor,an International Consultant, about Malcolm Naki the Gardener who performed the first heart transplant operation and about Dr.Patch Adams.

  • 1

    SAITM nothing to solve except the radical student mindsets you financed for revolution for you and not for country. Let SAITM MBBS of 8 years, get internship and continue to practice and the country will be better off without the ragged deranged mindsets you control in radical GMOA.
    Created chaos affects those who create it.
    Use robbed wealth of Avant, Malwana,Dubai,US,gems,murderous 3 boy co. The sitting commission has no legality to take over students money paid in full for them to MBBS and intern to practice. No student in UGC has entry record of alleged wrong stds. No MBBS examiner has pointed any flaws in the conduct of SAITM Finals. Only such examiners are even qualified to comment, but without legal authority to erase MBBS. What rubbishy issue is this. Shouting hora upadi does not make it one. Financed shrieking radicals have no idea of medical stds. No executive power under vote pressure can abolish SAITM legally, observed by the whole world as unfair insane gross injustice.

  • 1

    Why would Marx writing here, advise MARA that a medical course be abolished? No reasons given. Did he think that during the last 8 years, the students paid money and sat back when MBBS would fall into their laps. Teaching basics too long, Marx has no legal power to assess the final MBBS, and politics seems to be his answer, not justice or even academic.. His ideological mindset has seared his conscience so deep that he has lost all sense of right and wrong.
    Today outstation A/L better and quota admissions should be abolished with Z scores. Being double minded is called schizo. of the gadarene kind in tombs and pigs. Wants to sacrifice the future of 960 doctors so he can fill his ache for power among the governing. Give Welikada buriyani.

    Ex Prez. should know highway robbery of degree has consequences from the living, unlike the murdered Thajudeen or Lasantha now dead. Let GMOA list its legally current plan to Prez.

  • 1

    The 3 headed evil medical monster which terrorizes is funded by robbed state money to strike like matches. Only the extremely poor in OPDs are affected while hospitals carry on regardless. MARA helped wound all 3 heads under the law and no one to help. Malice towards SAITM exalted the SLMC so much that GMOA are fighting elections this month to creep and control SLMC. But justice coming down on all 3 can disqualify the MARA stooges. January could see restoration of law and order.

  • 0

    Well funded SAITM issue of politics and even more job agencies, it never showed corruption though Ryan shouts hora upadi because Karl and cheating deans gave him internship even though he did not sit Psychiatry finals, which is 1 of 5 final subjects. He shouts his guilt of hora upadi. If such deceptive deviation in state is possible, why cannot SLMC give internship to SAITM MBBS with a court verdict which also says violation of Medical Ordinance.
    RAMA may not understand GMOA top robbed postal votes and Maradana police grilled them as they struggle to get into SLMC elections this month. Where is corruption more when GMOA suicide squad of parents includes Asoka Ranwala. They even dictate minimum stds. Former SLMC head requires a new inquiry in courts. GMOA head is in contempt of courts. Decapitation suggested.

    Is RAMA satisfied with SAITM solution or does he want chaos to continue till 2020. Judging by arbitrary training of cheating deans, chaos and corruption has potential to continue and an evil terrorizing group will arise with an appendage of mock parent radical suicide brigade not only against govt. but strike against poor sick people requiring sustenance OPD medicine, but unable pay the hora baith kades springing up unchecked everywhere, seeing SAITM as competitors.

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