SAITM a Medical Degree-awarding Institution
Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake

Source : 18 April 2012, Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka), BY SANDUN A. JAYASEKERA

No reason for protests if this private medical faculty is equipped to give
proper clinical training to students

The Malabe Private Medical Faculty has been recognized as a degreeawarding institution by the UGC and the Higher Education Ministry with the concurrence of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, the Higher Education Minister said yesterday. 

Minister S.B. Dissanayake said the medical faculty also known as the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) would become a fullyfledged medical degree awarding institution no sooner its 1,000-bed teaching hospital was opened and until then students must obtain clinical training from the Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy in Russia.

“I don’t see any reason for protests if this private medical faculty is equipped to give proper and complete clinical training to its students after the completion of its own hospital,” the minister said and pointed out that the BOI had registered 51 higher educational institutions and 31 of them had already started work.

He said all those who protested against private education, be they doctors, engineers or university teachers had reached their present position not solely through free education but also with the help of private tuition classes.

“The doctors who oppose private medical faculties earn millions by doing private practice and through channel service. What is the rationale behind this? By protests over private medical colleges they do huge injustice to those who failed to enter the medical faculty being short of one or two marks,” the minister said.

He said it was a crime to prevent a Sri Lankan student obtaining a local medical degree for Rs.6 million as opposed to Rs.15 million to Rs.30 million a Sri Lankan student must spend by going abroad to obtain a similar degree and in the process draining nearly Rs.3 billion in foreign exchange annually.

The minister said 21 Sri Lankan professors who had obtained their academic qualifications through free education in the country were serving at SAITM and 69 students are children of members of the GMOA.