ECONOMYNEXT – Opposition to a private medical college in Sri Lanka by students and staff of state universities is driven by politics and fear of competition and loss of state monopoly over higher education, officials of the university said.
Hostility towards the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), a fee-levying college authorised to award degrees, worsened after a recent Appeal Court ruling supporting the registration of its students
The Court of Appeal ruled last week that the Sri Lanka Medical Council, the statutory body that registers doctors, had used double standards and exceeded its powers when denying registration to graduates of SAITM.
It ordered the SLMC to provisionally register a graduate of the college.
SAITM Chief Executive Sameera Senaratne was shot at Monday evening by two men on a motor bike near the campus but he was unhurt.
Deepal Weerasekera, professor and Head of the Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics of SAITM and its acting vice chancellor, said fears the college would churn out substandard graduates were unfounded.
“Our clinical training is done by professors of national stature with experience abroad,” he told a news conference.
“We have no intention of putting out substandard clinically trained people because we know the consequences of that.”
He said he believed state university sector graduates, who were protesting against the collage and making allegations of sub standard clinical training, were afraid of the standard of SAITM students.
“We would be happy to have an international panel to assess the training standards not only of SAITM but state universities as well.”
Neville Perera, professor of surgery at SAITM, said academic staff of state universities were scared of the competition from private colleges like SAITM and also feared the loss of monopoly on higher education by the state.
The officials also said opposition political parties were behind the protests against SAITM and were trying to use it to further narrow political agendas.
(COLOMBO, Feb 07, 2017)