11 December, 2017

Blog

What’s Wrong With SAITM

By Dhammika Herath

Dr. Dhammika Herath

Dr. Dhammika Herath

The debate about South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) appears to be heating up, at least at this late hour, with all the stakeholders throwing in their two cents worth. While I do not have any vested interests, except the interest of being a person who benefited from “free education”, let me throw in my two cents.

The Paradox of Opinions

As a preamble to my viewpoint on SAITM, let’s examine some of the arguments put forward by different factions who clearly have their own agendas.

  1. The process of admission to SAITM is flawed, students who do not qualify for a basic degree in sciences study Medicine at SAITM. This argument has some validity and credibility, and it will hold ground until all the information is available to all concerned parties.
  2. SAITM is a private institution, medical education should not be privatised. This is a recurrent theme, but unrealistic to say the least. While education is not a commodity, whether we like it not, it’s a commodity in a market economy, where everything has a price, including justice. This argument does not hold much ground in its pure sense. But I will explore further some of the questions related to this issue of private institutions.
  3. Training at SAITM is sub-par, and was not recognised by the Sri Lanka Medical Council. This is a valid argument, and SLMC has a list of recognised medical colleges as listed and recognised by WHO. There are several medical colleges in the world which are not recognised by WHO or any other country. Interested readers can simply Google or refer to the WHO website as this is public information. Some years ago, the SLMC, after examining the SAITM gave its verdict; SAITM does not qualify to be recognised as an institution since its standards do not meet required criteria. This was open information to everyone who followed this saga closely.
  4. SAITM or local private medical schools save valuable foreign exchange. This is the most ludicrous argument for SAITM and we do not need to look far to realise how ridiculous this idea is. SAITM will not prevent students who aspire to become doctors travelling abroad, and getting their medical degrees from for-profit institutions, the quality of which are highly questionable. If we look at the foreign exchange that Sri Lanka lost for some famous deals, like MIG deal, Hedging Deal, Prado deal, these are fine examples of how we lose foreign exchange. Further discussion in this area is not really useful or meaningful in Sri Lanka.
  5. SAITM students and students who can afford it have a right to education, including medical education. This argument has apparent validity, at least on face value. We can talk about this right once we are absolutely free, but not in a modern, highly regularised age. Education is based on merits and needs of the country, not on individual aspirations. Definitely not because you can afford it.

What’s Wrong with SAITM?

The critical issue that’s being ignored is the context of the establishment of SAITM and its core functions. Many social commentators, students and unions ignore this critical but unpleasant area from their discussion and continue to beat the strawman.

SAITM is quite similar in its inception and evolution to another institution that cost many lives and a generation to Sri Lanka – the North Colombo Medical College popularly known as NCMC. SAITM is a PRIVATE organisation and it lied to BOI, SLMC as well as its very own students about its credentials.

Even for a moment, if this institution is a legal entity, training and teaching must occur within the parameters of a private organisation, looking after its clientele, the undergraduates. It should deal with its own problems of finding clinical training as any other private organisation would do when faced with similar issues.

The State is not there to bail out failing private ventures or its participants. That is neither free market nor good governance. SAITM does not have any legal or moral right to request government facilities for their training purposes, as it’s a private, for- profit institution and government is in no way obliged to provide or share scarce facilities with any private institution, breaking all the fundamentals of free markets, overlooking its own commitments to public students.

This is exactly what’s happening now, that government is interfering with private affairs, and the million dollar question is, why ?The answer lies at the heart of the intentions of the founders of SAITM. Beside profit motive, the other motives are perpetuation of elitism and nepotism.

Let me discuss this topic little further. Most of the students, who are studying at SAITM are not kith and kin of politicians. They are sons and daughters of lawyers, doctors, professionals and academics. Here lies the core issue, as happened 35 years ago; they are grooming the next generation to occupy the very seats and positions that they are holding right now.

Sri Lankan universities and government institutions are bastions of nepotism, particularly key government positions and positions in universities. This is precisely why SAITM came into being, that’s precisely why no one really objected to the blatant deceptions by the management of SAITM.

Furthermore, this is one of the critical reasons government is involved in the affairs of private business venture and judgments were meted out, violating all the norms and morals a just society demands. At the hands of nepotism and elitism, there will not be any morals or rules in a backward country like Sri Lanka.

These very forces who are working against the best interests of the under privileged continue to lie and deceive using soft language, nonsensical arguments about free education, human rights and so on and so forth.

Let’s take another fascinating aspect of this whole saga; the students who study at SAITM, are responsible adults aspiring to treat other human beings, following principals of justice, and causing no harm. They should be able to make complex decisions in relation to treating human maladies which are becoming increasingly complex. What is their level of intellect, if they cannot understand, and analyse critically, that the very institution they study in is responsible for their predicament?

The students of SAITM, are wholly responsible for (or their parents) investing in an institution without clarifying its standing or by simply Googling it, as even a eighth grader would do nowadays.

They have been deceived by the SAITM and the students should take legal action against this institution for failing them so vividly, robbing their money, causing pain and grief. This I doubt will ever happen, simply because their elite parents and kith and kin are so sure that they will “sort things out for their kids”.

This is the real problem with SAITM and this is what Sri Lankans really have to deal with it. Since politicians will capitalise on this issue, there will be no justice for poor similarly qualified students of Sri Lanka. Once SAITM gets its approval, as it seems it will, the Sri Lankan government will annihilate the education once and for all. That’s something we cannot afford.

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Latest comments

  • 15
    38

    This is such poor logic from a so-called academic! Show the narrow minded illogical and nationalist thinking.

    There is nothing wrong in those who can pay, paying for their education. In fact it make profound ECONOMIC SENSE.
    If Sri Lanka is to develop the higher education ‘pie’ must and will grow bigger in Lanka so all can be included, as there is need for more doctors, teachers and professional in all sectors – and those with good English.

    Fact is that there is room for very good National universities AND Private Universities in Sri Lanka which needs more qualified and educated Doctors, teachers, profssionals.

    The stupid, jealous and envious SInhala ‘Perethayo’ logic that sees education as a Zero Sum game – or the idea that if there are private universities in Lanka, the public ones will lose out – is not at all correct.

    When the higher education pie grows with public and private universities, everyone will gain because there will be more qualified, educated people including doctors..
    Sri Lanka also exports doctors who give back to the country from the Diaspora.

    The point is to ensure that the corrupt politicians stick to a good National education policy and ensure 6 percent funding of GDP for national universities. Sri Lanka needs to grow the education pie with good public AND private institutions for an inclusive society and to break down class, race, religious and caste exclusion from education. There is room for both public and private universities so stop being so darn narrow minded!

    • 26
      15

      Segregate private medical care from public health care and this the root cause for all these issues.

      Doctors in the govt system will prevent others joining the system and very clearly evident. Public sector doctors should no be allowed to do private practice. We need many more doctors.

      Most issues identified as draw backs at SAITM by Dhammika can be addressed easily. If SAITM uses public hospitals for clinical training charge them market rates for such use.

      At the same time GMOA doctors all should comply with following:

      1 should not demand govt jobs on qualifying as a doctor
      2 should not demand govt quarters when posted outstation
      3 should not demand duty free car permits
      4 should pay income tax
      5 should agree to pay back cost of med school education over a period of time after qualifying
      6 should not under take private practice if employed in govt service
      7 should take action when medical negligence is reported
      8 should not sell the duty free car permits already issued
      9 should not demand additional benefits not given to other professionals in govt sector
      10 improve the work ethics

    • 4
      3

      Dr Mohan Rajakaruna is one of the best Cardiologists in Sri Lanka and a proud product from NCMC.

      If not for NCMC, we would have lost people like Mohan to the medical profession.

      Wish NCMC was allowed to function!!!

      • 9
        0

        ” Dr Mohan Rajakaruna is one of the best Cardiologists in Sri Lanka and a proud product from NCMC.”

        An exception cannot be a rule. Possibly Dr. Mohan is an exception. I agree there is a problem in the admission criteria to state Universities, with the introduction of District quota system from 1974.

        Since the introduction of the flawed district Quota system some students from competitive districts failed to gain admissions even with very good results when another from a so called backward district were able to enter highly popular faculties of learning such as Medicine and Engineering with mere four simple passes.

        Certainly some of these bright students who were denied admission because of their district had no choice to seek a private medical college to pursue their studies and they did well. I am sure this learned Cardiologist must be one of the unfortunate but bright students from a competitive district. But such students are merely a handful. The majority of the students are enrolled with very poor Advanced Level results, and surely they lack the required IQ.

        One single sparrow does not make a summer and so do not use exceptions to justify your argument. Certainly I agree there is a problem, and not all students who enter the State Universities rightfully deserve admission. The admission criteria to State Universities should be changed by scrapping off the district quota system and only pure merit should be counted for admission.

  • 8
    16

    Dr. Dhammika: This is such poor logic from a so-called academic! Show the narrow minded illogical and nationalist thinking.

    There is nothing wrong in those who can pay, paying for their education. In fact it make profound ECONOMIC SENSE.
    If Sri Lanka is to develop the higher education ‘pie’ must and will grow bigger in Lanka so all can be included, as there is need for more doctors, teachers and professional in all sectors – and those with good English.

    Fact is that there is room for very good National universities AND Private Universities in Sri Lanka which needs more qualified and educated Doctors, teachers, profssionals.

    The stupid, jealous and envious SInhala ‘Perethayo’ logic that sees education as a Zero Sum game – or the idea that if there are private universities in Lanka, the public ones will lose out – is not at all correct.

    When the higher education pie grows with public and private universities, everyone will gain because there will be more qualified, educated people including doctors..
    Sri Lanka also exports doctors who give back to the country from the Diaspora.

    The point is to ensure that the corrupt politicians stick to a good National education policy and ensure 6 percent funding of GDP for national universities. Sri Lanka needs to grow the education pie with good public AND private institutions for an inclusive society and to break down class, race, religious and caste exclusion from education. There is room for both public and private universities so stop being so darn narrow minded!

  • 38
    9

    SAITM students should protest against Neville Fernando and the lot for defrauding them. But I think most of the SAITM students joined it knowing that it is not recognized by SLMC. But they joined because they were confident that Rajapaksha regime would give that recognition somehow even if it had to dismantle the SLMC and fill it with puppets (During last presidential election SAITM even posted full page advertisement on all the papers congratulating Mahinda Rajapaksha for something). But to the dismay of SAITM, MR lost the election and now in the Yahapalana Regime they are going behind Rajitha and the lot to get the SLMC recognition. Even during Rajapaksha regime, then Health Minister and current president Maithripala Sirisena did not support this venture and stayed far away from it. I don’t know whether as a president he will intervene in this issue and take a good decision that would benefit the future generations of the country and preserve the health sector of this country.

  • 15
    22

    Private Medical institutions are a threat to the existing Doctors income. The government should take every steps to remedy the shortfalls of SAITM rather than getting lost in bureaucracy. Only creative competition can brake the back bone of monopoly and thus bring down the cost of health care.

    • 7
      1

      Hussain Fahmy

      “Private Medical institutions are a threat to the existing Doctors income.”

      Your fact is correct but your argument is flawed.

      Forget of private medical institutions, there are many quacks practicing Medicine and they are certainly a threat to proper qualified doctors income. They are also threat to society too not only to doctors.

      At the rate Private medical colleges mushrooms every three wheel driver will have a MBBS degree and every doctor when finding difficult to get a job may think of taking to drive three wheel to feed his family!

      At this rate the value of a MBBS degree will be degraded to such an extent when will be equivalent to toilet paper. It will be important to display the Institution which awarded the degree and then selectors have a right to reject degrees from such mushroom institutions. Certainly the argument will hold water when the admission criteria are going to be vastly different. This will be the ultimate reality.

      There was a time MBBS degree was unquestionably respected. But wait and see all selectors will not stop asking for the MBBS degree certificate but will ask for the Advance Level and Ordinary Level certificates as well. We will soon have three wheel drivers displaying their MBBS degree in their taxi, your driver is a doctor!

  • 15
    6

    Now that our Govt trained Ayrvedic Doctors have become oil massage therapists for the Colombo Elite.these SAITM Medicos can do their internship in Borella Ayrvedic Hospital .

    Their knowledge in Anatomy , Physiology and basic surgery will certainly lift the standards of our Native Medicine.

    And the Yahpalana health Minister can go down in history as the dude who brought our Veda mahaththayas into the 21 century.

  • 11
    1

    // It should deal with its own problems of finding clinical training as any other private organisation would do when faced with similar issues.
    //

    agreed, also imo, SAITM graduates may practice private, or if they are to enter into govt hospitals, need to come thro a proper procedure, (ACT 16 as it is for foreign graduates to practice in SL) to ensure the quality.

  • 17
    2

    This whole issue is a private matter. It’s a issue between students and SAITM mangment. I don’t know, why government has to intervene in this.

    If a private company doesn’t have proper license to produce a product and that product doesn’t have due standard accredition to sell in market, it’s up to that company to obtain the proper license and accredition. The company or product can’t challenge existing accredition protocols or calling government to rescue them.

    SLMC has its own protocol to recognize a private medical college. Rather than making unnecessary issues, SAITM managment has to find a way to full fill the requirements of SLMC and get the recognition from SLMC. Then SAITM students can sit ERPM (ACT16) exam and obtain the registration to practice in Sri Lanka.

    Current students may top-up their degree from a WHO accredited university and sit ERPM (ACT16) exam and obtain the registration to practice in Sri Lanka.

    Please understand the issues. It’s not about private or public. It’s about standard and protocols.

    • 3
      6

      Cannot understand why SAITM students should sit Act 16 exam?

      It is a matter of time before SAIM is approved. Just like as to how Port City project is now going ahead, SAITM will be approved.

      I am waiting for that day!!!

      • 4
        0

        Fundamental requirement to get the license to practice in Sri Lanka.

        To asses,

        a) the core knowledge on clinical subject in particular reference to problems prevalent in Sri Lanka

        b) asses the skills and competencies required to shoulder responsibilities, as a pre-registration house officer (intern medical officer)

  • 13
    0

    To begin with this SAITM is a BOI project approved for a “Private Enterprise”. In giving the approval, BOI set up rules and regulations to be complied with. Has SAITM complied with those requirements? One of the main requirements was to set up a “Teaching Hospital” with 1000 beds providing the facilities for “clinical practices” for the students. Has SAITM complied with that. NO and NOT YET. Then the following questions are very pertinent:

    (1) Why the students decided to pay the fees and enrolled with the Institution that did not comply wit stipulated conditions.? Both the students and the parents should have looked into that aspect. Or else they should have paid fees and enrolled on a “conditional” basis.

    (2) Why the Government has got involved in this matter of “complying” with the stipulated conditions to be fulfilled by SAITM? Why can’t the Government “imposed” the conditions to be fulfilled failing to which the whole project would have to be “nullified”.

    (3) Why did the Government give an “undertaking” to provide clinical practices at state run hospitals? That led to the students filing a case in courts demanding to execute that “undertaking”.

    (4) Hasn’t the Government “Bungled” the whole of this affair by willful intervention to accommodate a “Private Investor”?

    The writer has brought a very “important” fact to light, in that, he points out that the parents of those students who have been enrolled are mostly the “Professionals” (Doctors,Lawyers,Engineers etc). They are no doubt consider themselves to be that “ELITE” class who want to maintain the “Elitist” status by hook or crook. I request the attention to the history of sixty years of this country i.e. prior to 1956 year. Wasn’t it the same? The wheel is turning and we will see that time again.

    Now we have a problem. How do we solve it? Simple. Let all those students sit the same examinations like those set up for the Colombo Medical School and fulfill the qualifying requirements stipulated by the Medical Council of Sri Lanka. NO LESS. Now that the Government has “committed” at “PUBLIC EXPENSE” to provide facilities that MUST be provided by the “Private Investor”; the people must DEMAND the Government to CHARGE appropriate fees for such services from the “Entrepreneur”.

  • 20
    1

    I’m neither a millionaire nor a health care professional. What I do feel about this issue is that everyone can not have what they want. Its the simple principal of survival. Survival of the most suitable one for the purpose. In regarding medical education the necessity should be the intelligence or the ability of critical thinking. That’s the purpose of having A/L as a barrier exam. I myself know what a great brain is needed to get through A/L with good results. Its true that a exam cant assess one’s intelligence at one go. That’s why you are given 3 chances.
    As a normal citizen I would like to have the cream of my country as the doctors who treat me. If students in this so called medical faculty truly have the brains that they are telling us that they do have, why dont they try A/L again???? It cant be so difficult to get through this simple exam with their great brains.
    Finally what I have to say is, having a desire to be a doctor or having enough money to pay the PMC is not enough. You have to prove that you are capable of having the responsibility of lives of our poor patients on your shoulders.

    • 7
      0

      Well said. Just because one has money and/or aspires to be a medical doctor does not give anyone the right to demand to become one. A good doctor is someone who was able to get the foundations right from the beginning. Even in the so called “capitalistic” Western countries only the cream of the crop of students doing their university entrance exams in biological sciences can enter a medical school.
      Shame on Rajitha Senaratne if he continues to support such unfair acts. They need to dismantle the SAITM now.

  • 20
    0

    In the UK, you have to have at least AAB in order to receive a place to study medicine. This is because they realize that with a subject like medicine, you should only be accepting exceptional students who have proved they are capable of becoming doctors in the future. SAITM on the other hand takes students even below basic passes of Sri Lankan A levels and you see students who are simply not capable failing and somehow repeating their exams over and over and moving on to the next year. If Sri Lanka is going to have private medical schools, you cannot expect the SLMC to approve them without basic entry standards. I certainly wouldn’t want a doctor who didn’t have the best training possible and it should not be allowed to continue. It’s unfair on their students and society.

  • 2
    11

    Do any one know Dr.Carlo Fonseka had only 2 subjects in his university entrance. How come he became a doctor and professor with such qualifications.

  • 11
    1

    SAITM is a great example of how the Private sector, politicians (including JVP) and the legal system is employed in moneymaking, leaving future of several hundred young people’s lives and aspirations at stake.
    It is remarkable what lobbying, advertising and monetary incentives (Read as bribery) can achieve.
    We will see several more private medical colleges coming up now.
    We may need more medical reps to educated these youngsters as it happens now with the majority of current practitioners!
    Any volunteers to be the first patients of these “doctors”?

  • 8
    4

    Well said Dr. Dhammikka. Nicely analyzed. Thank you. Yes! This failed government will surely annihilate the education once and for all.

  • 13
    2

    Since writing my comment, like in the previous occasion my friend from abroad called me – this time to thank me for the solution to the problem that I have proposed. However,another interesting thing happened last week. I was invited to have little dinner (in house) with a friend who lives in Colombo. The reason (quite incidental)his daughter who is a Doctor practicing in USA has come down for a holiday. I knew this (girl) was one who had to abandon the “Medical Studies” at the Ragama because it was closed down. After that, she had gone to Granada in the Careabean) and studied “Medicine”. After completion she went to Canada to practice; but was told to “COMPLY” with the laid down qualifying examinations. She failed to qualify. Then she went to USA. She was told there too, to sit the qualifying examinations stipulated. She qualified and now practicing in USA. At that time her parents and the only brother were living in Canada. After qualifying to practice as a Doctor in USA, she again wanted to engage in same profession in Canada. The answer she got from Canada was very interesting to note. The Canadian authorities in charge of “Medical Studies” said: “Please sit the “Qualifying Exams” in Canada and then only you will be permitted to practice in Canadian soil. She is now in her age of fifty and she continues to practice in USA. Just see how they “Regulate” this profession in different ways in two neighbouring countries viz. USA and Canada. This is a very interesting and a very relevant story I got from the horse’s mouth.

    Now coming back to my friend who called me from abroad who was somewhat pleased on my views, asked what further solution I would give to the “Parties” affected. I said, we know the “situation”; “problem”; “implications” and the “need”; but certain STEPS in the “need” are missing. What are those MISSING STEPS: (1) The GMOA -as a Public Interest group must “SUE” the Government and the Minister for offering to “Bail Out” at PUBLIC EXPENSE, the “Private Enterprise” that was required as a “Condition” to offer “Clinical Practice” in a hospital to be set up with 1000 beds and comply with the Medical Councils stipulations. (2) The students of SAITM must SUE this “Private Enterprise” for “FRAUDULENTLY” engaged in a business venture without complying with the stipulated conditions and enrolling them having collected fees from them to follow a course of studies that do not give them the desired and intended end results. (3) The BOI must SUE the SAITM for violating the conditions of approval of the “Venture”. Any more suggestions?

    • 0
      0

      Douglas,
      Canada and USA each have provincial medical schools,provincial bodies for medical education, assessment of medical degrees obtained abroad, & for medical registration & ethics eg. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
      Foreign Medical Graduates (from other countries) have to do residency, and then sit the exams of anyone of each country’s medical schools.
      Placement for residency is difficult – only a limited number of placements are available.
      Even migrants with postgraduate qualifications from UK have to do residency and qualify.

  • 3
    1

    The solution to this question is plain and simple:
    GOSL through SLMC recognizes a countless number of medical degrees from various places (including Timbuoktu in Mali?). SL parents get large amount of foreign exchange from central bank to send their children to such countries. Does the central bank check the grade levels of such students before releasing funds. Or has SLMC gone to check the conditions under which those students train or the grade levels of students entering those universities before allowing those medical graduates to sit for act 16. If they did not they have put Sri Lankan citizens (or anyone for that mater) in grave danger. If not SLMC had done a great disservice to the citizens of this country and should be reconstituted immediately.
    We know very well about the staff who teaches at SAITAM and where they get the clinical training. A panel of eminent SL doctors and educationists should examine these and advise GOSL on the suitability or otherwise of the condition. A definite time frame should be set for this excercise.

    In the meantime the students who have already completed the course and those still studying should be allowed to sit the act 16 or the same exam as other medical students before allowing to practice.

    It is also pertinent to understand that free education is not only state education and that SL is a democratic country where citizens have a right to decide where to send their children for education.

  • 4
    3

    The Government MUST allow private medical training facilities, these facilities need to be given clinical training facilities by either Government or private hospitals….The Government should also allow foreign doctors with accredited qualifications and a minimum experience (at consultant grade) to practice medicine in Sri Lanka.

    This is the only way to break the back of the GMOA mafia. Doctors such as the writer of this article only look at their wellbeing and safeguarding their little domain of exclusivity. We must come up with a solution and save the general public being held at ransom by these dogs.

  • 3
    0

    What basic qualification of these students have for the entry of this SAITM?

  • 6
    2

    Countries like US, UK, China and India produces medical graduates every year to meet the global average of doctors, take an example India, India says they need more medical colleges, presently they do have 300 plus medical colleges, now they say they need 600 medical colleges, there is a demand for doctor in the world, Over 3,000 Indian doctors have migrated overseas in the last three years. Doctors usually go abroad to obtain higher qualifications and training or for prestigious assignments. I have seen pilots are grounded for various reasons, never seen or heard of any Doctor idling without a job. Such a demand for this prestigious profession.
    The decision to choose medicine as a career is not an easy one. It involves spending a number of years to get a degree, develop skills and get settled in the career.
    Once you enter a medical college to the moment you finish your training, you’re looking at a minimum of seven years to ten years, for most people it’s closer to 12 years — before you’re even close to being considered a “real” doctor confidently. And mind you these are not fun, carefree years — certainly not the way most people spend their 20s. You spend these fetal-doctor years indoors working under fluorescent lights, nose pressed into books filled with inscrutable diagrams and endless acronyms. These are the years spent doing a whole lot of work for little or no money.
    These are years of thousands of lost hours spent at the hospital instead of with your friends and family, who always seem to be wondering where you are and why you’re still there and when, if ever, you’ll be coming home.
    But still one is happy to be a doctors. First and hopefully underlying all the other reasons, there’s probably the pure and honest desire to want to do good in life and to help people.
    Then there is the acceptance and respect in society, which comes with this profession. A sense of giving back to society is always there.
    Lastly, the financial remunerations as doctor are good and help in leading a good life.
    *****
    My fellow Srilankans, let us take that first step. Though the journey is difficult, let history record that we do have Private Education and a Medical College, in this land,
    *****
    Shouldn’t civil society demand a radical change to our private education system to ensure that our youth have the maths and science skills necessary for them to cope and thrive as the future doctors in today’s globalised society? We do need Private Education including Private Medical Colleges.
    At this time, the first step taken by Dr. Neville,
    We must keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things,
    Hope the new Government Leaders take steps to sort out this issue and close the case.

  • 5
    2

    If the students of the SAITM are made to sit in the same exams similar to the so called highly intelligent public university students to qualify and pay for the clinical training in the state hospitals, there should not be any problem for anyone, if they still find problems beyond this then it’s just pure hypocrisy!!

  • 2
    6

    Education is a right of the students. Whether it is from state sector or the private sector or both, does not matter. We have to see this controversial problem in students’ direction. The valid and acceptable point is the quality of the education. No argument on that. The problem is why SAITM students are not allowed clinical training at Govt. hospital to improve the quality. Then the will become par ahead doctors compared to some doctors qualified in state sector. I think the fear is that .Most of the SAITM students are also Sri Lankan who had right of free education? The deprived heavily from so called Z score system . They are victimized. Who are fighting for the justice of those. That is why the judiciary has involve in the issue. The rulers or so called Doctors like Dhammika, should first address the issue. SAITM create at least an alternative opportunity for the issue. It does not mean the rulers responsibility of the issue is over. They have to seek the solution at least both together. Have a partnership with this private institute(SAITM) and the Government to provide good doctors through this alternative way too. Government properties are not belonging to Government doctors only.They are for the public.Petty and extremist argument does not solve the problem . Independent scholars can see the nook and corner of the issues. Please wise on that.

  • 9
    0

    I can remember Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) advertisements in national newspapers, warning prospective students of SAITM of the risk involved in enrolling in an institution like SAITM as that institution had not fulfilled basic requirements to award a medical degree recognized in Sri Lanka. Therefore SAITM students and their parents enrolled at their own risk disregarding warning given by the SLMC.

  • 1
    1

    Main Problem of Sri Lanka is regulating things. For instance take Three Wheelers, There are so many of them without any standard or regulation and it is like the Wild West where anyone with money to buy a three wheeler can become a three wheel driver. Which causes a lot of issues. Having regulations like a uniform color for hire riding three wheelers, a uniform for three wheeler drivers and many more regulations can make prospective three wheel drivers take other occupations.

    Likewise Sri Lanka Medical Council and Ministry of Health should sit together and formulate regulations. Regulations which are proactive than reactive. But I am against about the point 5 mentioned in the post.

    Education is not just about memorizing 2 years worth of studies for 3 papers of 2-3 hours each and passing it. Education is more than that. Education doesn’t end with G.C.E (A/L). Even the people who passed G.C.E (A/L) can falter during there Degree studies if they don’t continue there work.

    Free education means free for all. Not just for Super talented people.

  • 4
    4

    The writer perhaps would like Sri Lankans to remain exporters of House Maids as a source of foreign exchange earnings.

  • 2
    0

    Justice: Thank you. You have given a clear picture of how these developed countries “Regulate” the intake of personnel to this vital blood stream of the peoples’ health. That was my comment and how we can streamline this “Malabe Doctor Kade”, as described by my friend from abroad. Just read the comment by “Wij”. If the Medical Council has warned the students before enrolling in SAITM, what more they can complain of, other than to SUE this “Private Enterprise” approved by the BOI for DECEIVING them and collecting fees for a course of studies that did not get the approval from the authorities.

  • 7
    0

    Prof Neville Fernando, he is not a professor and he is only a General Practitioner with MBBS basic degree. He did not do any postgraduate studies and is not a specialist to be called a professor. He has ‘offered’ himself a professor title. Just check the SAITM website and Dr. Neville Fernando calls himself Prof. Neville Fernando. A typical example of a fake professor. I do not know how many more fake professors teach at SAITM. It is money that is luring many consultants to teach their students at SAITM in spite of the Medical Council’s warnings.

    I know many students do not really pass exams and are merely ‘pushed’. With many students enrolled with poor Advanced Level results and many even lacking minimum admission criteria they basically lack the intellectual capacity and obviously there will be a high failure rate in a properly conducted examination. However that will reflect badly on the Institution and the examiners will be under pressure by the Administartion to set easy exams or push many as possible and again to fake the quality of students. Certainly a conflict of interests exists here.

  • 3
    0

    If the general public like to give the responsibility of their lives to those unqualified and less intelligent people who cannot even pass A/L with good results, even doing it three times why should doctors bother? Its not you who should fight for this. You are not at the danger, if you get sick you can go to well qualified doctors if not in SL in abroad. Use your valuable time on a beneficial thing rather than wasting it on these foolish people who cannot understand the difference between a doctor and a conductor.

    I saw one has called doctors “dogs”. I may remember that these dogs have made you live from your birth to today. Without them you may not have even survive to call them dogs.

  • 2
    4

    How wrong you are Dr Herath on your assumption. The students who have entered SAITM are all qualified as the requirement of the University Grants Commission and SLMC. I am sure over 50 % of the students who sit in the BIO stream are eligible to follow medicine as per the UGC and SLMC requirements. So, there is no question of the students being below the required qualifications. It would be interesting to see if all the students are given a common final exam paper. The ones in the private medical colleges both locally and foreign would certainly be in the first 30%. What you are not admitting is that the entrants to state universities are the privileged lot from the villages, whose levels of education is far below average, yet, they are the lucky ones. They are not willing to face challenges from the urban educated, hence their objections. You as an educated doctor seem to be following their line of thinking, and that indeed is tragic.

  • 3
    2

    The answer to hilmy ahmed’s post is. If it is true why they ask C1S2 as minimum entry qualification to SAITM???? They can easily give the lowest z score which was used by government medical colleges as their minimum entry qualification. No doubt that urban students you mentioned above will get the justice. Dont they?????

  • 1
    0

    The latest news: The “Doctor Dentist” is getting ready to PULL the “Decayed Tooth”-(SAITM) and IMPLANT it on the Nation by proposing to take over SAITM by the Government. This proposal is believed to be made in the present development of Government Doctors refusal to provide clinical training to the SAITM students in state run hospital. The “Dentist Doctor” will also defend his proposal to “Implant” the “Decayed Tooth” on the State, because that is apparently the DEMAND of the GMOA. This is how Sri Lanka handles the problems of a FAILED BOI PROJECT approved for a Private Investor. Recently, the Prime Minister also had a meeting with the Medical Council at which this subject came up; but nothing of any news value was made available. Who knows what and what were discussed and agreed. It is anybody’s GUESS.

  • 2
    1

    Any body should not undermind the SAITM student. Most of them are in the merit list, if you take all qualified A/L students in the country together. So called Z score system has heavily discriminate the cream of the Bio stream. The have sacrificed for the poor and rural students. Now, those students close the alternative doors for them. What justice is that. SAITM students should have to be provided better way to go ahead. It is a national requirement.

    I propose to have common entrance exam for SLMC registration including for State university MBBS holders with SAITM students. Then the merit can be judged.
    Output is important rather than input.

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