Sri Lanka to set up fee-levying college after abolishing SAITM

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will set up a new fee levying college to award medical degrees which will admit students from 2019, in association with Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology, an existing not-for-profit degree awarding school.

The state information office said existing students of the South Asia Institute of Technology and Medicine, which faced opposition from a striking Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA), will attend a sunset college that will be wound up after they graduate.

The sunset agency will be subject to minimum standards approved by the Cabinet of Minister on Dec 13, 2018.

Medical training and education at ‘sunset’ school is expected to be approved by the Sri Lanka Medical Council, a controversial standard setting body that drew court censure for approving a medical faculty at a defence college before it was even built.

The SLMC also has to approve the new ‘sunrise’ fee-levying college. The new school will use any profits for re-investment and awarding scholarships.

There had been objections from the GMOA and others who objected to profits being distributed.

Most doctors in Sri Lanka have gained degrees at other people’s expense from taxes taken from the society by force, though a few doctors who studied abroad with their own money are also practising.

They have to pass a qualifying examination which graduates at tax-payer funded medical colleges, where standards vary widely, do not have to sit.

The GMOA, a medieval guild style organization that strikes frequently to protect their monopoly status and grip on the general population has strongly objected to private medical professions.

It also objected to SAITM students interning at state hospitals operated at public expense, even after paying a fee.

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SAITM was set up during the ousted Rajapaksa administration with the GMOA staying silent.

The sunset and sunrise school proposal was brought forward by a nine member committee chaired by Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs Harsha de Silva.

The committee also included secretaries of health and higher education ministries, chairman of the University Grants Commission which oversees tertiary education institutes, Chairman of the SLMC and Vice Chancellors and Deans of medical faculties of the Universities of Colombo and Kelaniya. (Colombo/Dec05/2018)

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