Supporting increased demand for free education

Open letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa

March 12, 2013, 9:09 pm

A feasible solution to support the increasing demand for State (free) University education without an additional burden to the Government

I wish to propose a simply solution to support Your Excellency's vision to make our motherland the Miracle of Asia by making Sri Lanka the educational hub of South-East Asia.

According to University Grants Commission statistics, eight state medical faculties in Sri Lanka have a total intake of 1150 students per year. Colombo Medical faculty supported by four teaching hospitals and having more than 5000 beds and only enrolls 190 students per year.

On the other hand, WHO recommends having 100 Doctors for 100,000 of the population in a developing country like Sri Lanka, whereas we only have 60 Doctors for every 100,000 people of the population. The recommended value for developed country is 200 doctors for 100,000 of the population. Your Excellency may observe that we are far behind both these targets.

Statistics of the Board of Investment indicates that more than 500 Sri Lankans every year go abroad to study medicine. Due to this number every year Sri Lanka losses more than 5 billion rupees worth of foreign exchange.

SAITM popularly known as Malabe Medical College, the first Sri Lankan private medical school established under the patronage of your Excellency holds the key to the higher education crisis in Sri Lanka. SAITM maximally utilizing its limited resources have bi-annual intake, 100 students in February and another 100 in September. University Grants Commission and the Sri Lanka Medical Council has approved SAITM to enroll 200 students in two batches every year as this feasible.

I humbly request your Excellency to advise University Grants Commission to adopt the same policy they have approved for SAITM while enrolling students to state medical faculties which have more facilities than SAITM. I am sure by doing so the Ministry of Higher Education and the University Grants Commission will be able maximising the utilisation of Tax payers' money. I believe we as a nation should be thankful to Prof. Neville Fernando, founder of SAITM for providing us with wisdom and guidance to solve the higher education crisis and healthcare in Sri Lanka through efficient management of his institution a true gift to the nation.

I trust your Excellency will request the relevant authorities to consider this avenue, taking SAITM as the paradigm in order to solve the higher education crisis in Sri Lanka.


Yours sincerely


Dr. Chanaka De Silva