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Delisting prominent Russian ‘varsities was a mistake – SLMC Chair

ECONOMYNEXT – Delisting three prominent Russian universities from its approved list of global medical institutions for Sri Lankan students was “a mistake” the Chairman of Sri Lanka’s Medical Council (SLMC) Professor Harendra de Silva has said.

In an interview with the Newsfirst Television channel, de Silva said the names of the three universities had been cut from the list on the SLMC website before “a final decision had been made by the Council.”

He said there is a committee that examines the suitability of universities for Sri Lankan students and makes recommendations to the SLMC.

“The Council has to examine the recommendations and finally send them to the Minister, who has the last word on the matter,” he said.

The Russian Centre in Sri Lanka said last week that the Russian Federation is “concerned about the decision to remove three prominent Russian State Universities” from the approved list.

The Universities include the People’s Friendship University, formerly known as the Patrice Lumumba University.

The 60-year old University which has about 21,000 students was specially set up during the Soviet days to offer scholarships to students from the Developing World.

The other two Universities are Pirogov Russian National Research University and the Tver State Medical University.

Pirogov is 114 years old and a university that attracts students from around the world.

The Press Release said that the delisting had taken place “without prior information, despite the fact that the SLMC held several meetings with the officials of these Russian Universities who came down to Sri Lanka throughout the past years, and regular payments were made by the universities to maintain the membership.”

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The Russian statement also said that the Embassy “hopes that the SLMC decision does not influence the practice of providing Russian State Scholarships to Sri Lankan citizens in the future, causing a loss of opportunities to young individuals to pursue their higher education free of charge in prominent Russian universities.” (Colombo, September 14, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana