Condemning the request by the Government Medical Officers Association to nationalise the SAITM medical campus, Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told Parliament that he was keen to know the attitude of these medical officers with regard to the country’s education.
As a developing country, Sri Lanka has failed to provide higher education opportunities for all the students who qualified for university entrance due to financial issues. In Sri Lanka approximately 100,000 students are eligible for university education but only about 30,000 get
the opportunity of entering the state universities.
As it was mentioned in the Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution the government is responsible to ensure the right to universal and equal access to education at all levels.
Raising a point of order, Galle district UPFA MP Ramesh Pathirana said that the SAITM has no accepted teaching hospital to provide their students to undergo clinical training. All the students who obtain a MBBS or an equivalent degree from a recognized foreign university have to pass Act
16 (Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine in Sri Lanka) conducted by the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). But no such procedure has been recommended for SAITM students. So conducting medical degree programmes our own way is completely wrong. Doctors do not oppose the private medical universities. But there should be a transparent way of doing this.
Responding to the MP Minister Rajapakshe said that SAITM was not established during the period of the 100 Days government or the present government.
The previous government established this SAITM University as well as the defence university. These universities were established with so called shortcomings.
The Minister asked MP Pathirana whether he hadn’t the courage to raise questions with regard to these shortcoming when then government gave permission to start these degree programmes.
“Due to the white van threat that prevailed in that era nobody raised their voices against the government. Even the GMOA remained silent and now are forcing the government to nationalize the SAITM which is very unfair.” he said.
Sri Lanka needs to have another 50-60 universities to meet the country’s higher education requirement. The government cannot do this alone. But all these universities should function under the supervision of the government.
The medical faculty of the Defence University was established even without the approval of the University Grants Commission. But the GMOA didn’t raise their voice against this.
The founder of the SAITM is a professional doctor and he has spent billions of money for the establishment of this university.
After spending a large sum of money and recruiting thousands of students, the GMOA is asking to nationalize it. This is a very mean act.
This is not the opinion of all the doctors of the country and it is only a request of a few members of the medical association mafia who have their personal political agendas.
He also questioned as to why they were damaging the occupational reputation of valuable doctors in this country by making open statements coming forward as an association.
We cannot take the responsibility of all the issues of these institutions that rose during the previous regime. But since we came to power, measures had been taken to legalize all these institutions and take them under the supervision of the government.