Posted on July 11th, 2016

Sarath Obeysekera

Minister who paved way for to establish SAITEM is conveniently keeping away from the problems faced by the students who are facing due to protests by the GMOA.

GMOA and the  students who may have had better qualifications in A level may not be happy to allow SIATEM qualified students to be given Internship assignments, but we have to mindful about the parents who have spent money to educate their children

I was having an early morning walk with an Ex minister of Higher education who ,was suggesting that GMOA should allow the current batch to practice as long as they are told to do Act 16 exams and provide registration exactly the way foreign graduate are allowed  to practice.

GMOA as a trade union can be an equity holder of the SAITEM which should be taken over by the government leaving minority shares to the current owners .( to be fair for the efforts they have put in)

Another option may be select next batches of students who just missed Z score by few points to enter SAITEM and the government provides loans like in UK to cover the fees after checking their payment capacity.

We spend our hard earned foreign currency to send students to study medicine abroad and never complain about the basic qualifications they had ,but allow them to practice after passing Act 16.Most of the people here do not even know the standard of education they are receiving .

After getting fee education quite a few migrate to other countries and we keep mum about the fact that they got the education from tax payers’ money.

In all the other fields of education like engineering ,nobody bothers to check the standard of education they receive ,but insist that they pass CEI exams to get the chartership.

Why can’t we adapt a similar practice vis a vis SAITEM students?




  1. aloy Says:

    GMOA has no issue with medical doctors passing out even from Timbaktu. They do not want doctors passing out from private medical college in SL only. What percentage of their members are from other third world countries less developed than SL?. They should publish the list of medical colleges that are currently recognized by SLMC. Perhaps they do not even have a list. I remember coming across someone from Libya who did the act 16.

  2. NAK Says:

    GMOA’s opposition to SAITEM is not for the SAITEM it self but the precedent it creates. Once SAITEM is allowed to legalize there will be a plethora of private medical colleges producing doctors by the dozen and that is what the GMOA is really against.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    The issue of medical education has many dimensions and many stakeholders.

    In principle, I support private medical colleges, especially since the state is unable to meet the demand, but as a potential patient of the doctors who graduate from these schools, I am very much concerned about maintaining the standards of instruction, qualification, and proficiency of the graduates. In the training of these medical students, in addition to teaching in classrooms and laboratories, access to the facilities of teaching hospitals and their patients are required. The latter facilities are in short supply.

    The students hoping to enter a lucrative and respected profession, the teachers hoping to make a healthy addition to their incomes, the profit-making college administrations interested in fattening their incomes and those of their shareholders, and the GMOA as a seemingly incorruptible standards-setting body which in reality also has a vested monopoly interest in controlling the admission of new members to their profession, have pecuniary stakes in the outcome.

    However, perhaps the MOST IMPORTANT group that has a vested interest in the outcome of this are the potential patients of the general public who will be at the tender mercies of these students once they graduate, and are employed as doctors. The government is supposed to represent and protect that public interest.

    In my view, the number of doctors we graduate should not be limited by the number of doctors we can employ within Sri Lanka itself.

    We should be training our workers, as doctors, dentists, engineers and so on, and giving them the freedom to work abroad if they cannot get suitable satisfying jobs in Sri Lanka. Then, rather than exporting unskilled domestic servants, often abused, to other countries, we will be exporting highly skilled medical personnel who will invariably make larger remittances back home helping Sri Lanka solve its balance of payments problem as well.

    Also, Sri Lanka should develop a reputation as a high quality but relatively inexpensive country for foreigners to get medical treatment using the latest technologies, and thereby transform our medical profession from one that exclusively serves our citizens into one that serves the world, and makes a very good living doing it. That will require more medical personnel than we have now.

    It is in this broader context that I support the training of everyone qualified at the A-Level and interested in the medical profession to become a Medical doctor, Dental surgeon, A medical technician, a nurse, or a pharmacist according to each person’s ability and interest without imposing artificial restrictions on the access to such training.

    However, the government should setup standards-setting bodies, help them operate, and exercise oversight to prevent monopolistic practices and other abuses from undermining the national interest in educating and enabling our students, and future medical professionals, to attain the limits of their natural abilities.

  4. aloy Says:

    I concur with the positions of both Ananda-USA and that of NAK.
    There should not be a proliferation of private medical colleges as this would affect those doctors who have put in so much of hard work to get through from state owned medical colleges. But our SLMC should enforce standards in all medical colleges without any fear or favour. The current one has done things haphazardly and should be dissolved immediately.
    As for maintaining professional standards, this should apply to engineering as well. Only those who have gained recognition should be allowed to practice and sign documents for approval including working drawings for various projects. If not every tom dick and harry will sign them and get approval for implementing projects. This is the procedure adopted in most other countries. I know in SL our politicos have to depend on foreigners for loans and they have to accept any low grade work; if not they would not get their commission.
    Our population is dwindling. Therefore we need to do things smarter using technology. I saw a documentary couple of days ago how they teach a group of students in making use of robots. In another documentary they were showing a factory production line where a robotic arm was assembling cars. Then they showed the a similar industrial arm taking a bottle of drink and pouring it to three cups without spilling a drop. Then they showed a girl making the same robot but in miniature scale from scratch with plastic components and ready made connectors. The only important part was the circuit board which was the size of a palm. This shows how incredibly simple is this technology. All the students need to understand is the electronics involved in the making of the circuit board which consists mainly of logic gates. This sort of things are not at all difficult for our students to grasp even in secondary school level. But to bring our students to that level we need technical people in the governance and we do not see any.

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