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Private medical colleges – A growing concern

2011-11-01 20:37:47
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Human civilization from the dawn of history was nurtured by education. We in Sri Lanka are proud of our high literacy rate and knowledge emancipation resulting in the legacy of our free education system.
Private university concept was formed in the country with the liberalized economy in the late 1970’s. The first issue arose with the establishment of Colombo North Medical College and publicized as Ragama Medical College, affiliated to the University of Kelaniya in 1991, at a cost of many precious lives. The medical profession in Sri Lanka still has an independent professional body, despite facing many challenges.
The Malabe Private Medical College (PMC) established in 2009 affiliated to Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy, Russia which is not even recognized by the WHO (World Health Organization) and under the institute SAITM (South Asian Institute of Technology and Management) incorporated as a BOI (Board of Investment) investment of a businessman.
The medical education regulatory body, the Sri Lanka Medical Council, did not recognize the private medical college as a university which could confer MBBS as do government universities. But this institute kept on matriculating students for the degree via propaganda despite protests in the press by the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) to make people aware of the illegality and substandard status.
All the medical students and doctors rose against PMC when the Higher Education Ministry last month issued a notification granting degree-awarding status to SAITM (now known as the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine), Malabe.
Malabe private medical college came into existence with the objective of enabling deserving students who have despairingly failed to obtain entrance to medical education due to the injustice caused by the district quota system. And thereby saving money of the country spent annually over foreign medical degrees.
It is shocking to find that some students who do not even have 3 simple (S) A/L passes are now studying at the SAITM.
As a persevering Sri Lankan student I am saddened by this orchestrated attempt, to devalue medical education of the country. A more shocking revelation is that the majority of the staff serving  the SAITM currently are foreign medical graduates who could not get through the Act 16 examination even after many attempts (one tutor has sat Act 16 on 17 attempts).
These tutors who have not passed Act 16 examination are, according to Sri Lankan standards not considered as doctors. Sri Lankan universities are proud to have teaching staff that possess post graduate qualifications.
The foreign exchange spent by the country on those who obtain foreign medical degrees is about LKR 1600 million, which is insignificant compared to the colossal amount spent on basic food items imported to the country such as sugar, milk powder and tin fish which is LKR 20,000 million, LKR 19,000 million and LKR 15,000 million, respectively.
Moreover, in the COPE report for 2006 it was highlighted that the amount lost due to bribery and corruption was to LKR 150000 million.
The original course of all these is the drastic cut of funds for universities by the government which have resulted in the exodus of the qualified teaching staff from universities into private institutions because of the low salaries paid to them by state universities.
The irony is a student entering the PMC has to pay monthly LKR 100,000 on average. How many parents in Sri Lanka can afford such a huge investment for the education of one child? It is merely 1 percent of the population according to the data from the Central Bank.
Even many other developing countries which are truly concerned about their educational systems such as Cuba have rejected the concept of PMCs. They do not want to devalue their high educational standards. But here in Sri Lanka our relevant authorities of education announced that they are to issue permits for three more PMCs in addition to the Malabe College. Reliable sources revealed that there are 20 proposals of PMCs, in the pipeline.
It is a laughing point how a PMC, without a hospital of its own can pass out a doctor?
Therefore at least in this eleventh hour let us wake up to this irrational and catastrophic decision of opening PMCs. It is our fervent plea that the government retracts this obnoxious proclamation and instead strengthens the existing state universities with better grants and facilities.


  Comments - 2

  • rashan Liyanage Saturday, 5 November 2011 03:33

    what about the students pay nearly 1ooooo to 150ooo Rs to Bangladesh, Indian Chinese and Russian universities...a staggering 50o to 600 students a yes...do you mind loosing foreign investment in out side sri lanka where it could be used for own growth,,,.

    Would you mind our students learning in unmonitored ..sub graded Russian or Nepalis university....while we can do a better job under supervision..

    Reply : 13       1

    mohamed Thursday, 5 January 2012 23:54

    god bless srilanka, this is good for our student.

    Reply : 2       1

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