Sri Lanka's state doctors blocking education freedom of children: legislators
May 15, 2017 17:10 PM GMT+0530 | 1 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT - Activists led by state doctors are threatening strikes over a private medical college and blocking the education freedom of children with the objective of supporting ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa's political faction, ruling party legislatures charged.
United National Party legislator Mujiber Rahman said, contrary to a misleading idea spread that private education is a new thing, it has a history of over 100 years. London degrees were awarded in Sri Lanka from 125 years ago, he said
Until schools were taken over in 1962, many were operated as non-state schools.
Deputy Power Minister Ajith Perera said there had been shortcomings discovered regarding the SAITM medical college, especially the lack of a hospital with enough patients for clinical practice.
The current administration had listened to all stakeholders and was correcting the shortcomings. A court order had alreayd been given to provide clinical practice in the Homagama and Avisawella hospitals.
The government had also decided to ask all students to sit for a common exam, before allowing them to practice as doctors. A regulatory authority will also be set up.
The Neville Fernando hospital attached to SAITM would be taken to the government and private schools will be listed in the stock market, he said.
Fernando had expressed the willingness to give the hospital free, and it was estimated to be worth at several billions, reporters were told.
But the Government Medical Officers Union was threatening strikes despite reasonable solutions to take care of patient safety due to political motivations, Rahuman charged.
Rahuman said the GMOA was opposing a trade agreement with India, as well as education freedoms, which showed the political motives of the group.
He claimed the union was treading the same political line as the so-called 'joint opposition' faction of ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Perera said the commitment to expand private education was also an objective of the last regime, and the current administration wanted to expand the education opportunities available to young people through fee-levying colleges.
He said other political groups with outdated ideas were also opposing private universities. Deputy Miniser Eran Wickramaratne said Communist nations like Vietnam and China has created a fast-expanding private university system, while some were objecting to them in Sri Lanka.
Perera said the intention was declared to 'start from the closure of SAITM and end with Royal Institute', but it would not be possible to roll back progress and freedom, he said. (Colombo/May15/2017)