Minister Dissanayake who was a guest of honour at the opening of the Dr. Neville Fernando Sri Lanka-Russia Friendship Teaching Hospital, the country’s largest private hospital and teaching hospital to the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), said that private education was a necessity to meet the demands of the youth in the country.
The minister criticised Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) Registrar Dr N.J Nonis and its former President Dr. Lalitha Mendis as well as doctors’ associations that had condemned the government’s decision to give recognition to SAITM and its teaching hospital.
“There has been a lot of criticism against this private university but I am not worried. Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena is not worried and neither is the President,” minister Dissanayake said. He said that previous ministers too had disregarded decisions of the SLMC and that despite the challenge, other private universities too would be set up in the country.
He said while 350,000 students sat the GCE Advanced Level Examination only 150,000 were eligible to enter university. He added that despite an effort to provide university admission to an additional number of students, only 27,000 students received entry.
“We will strengthen the state free education system in the country. But while doing so we will encourage the establishment of private universities as well,” he said adding that 11 private universities have already been given permission to begin in the country while several other private university proposals were still being examined.(Olindhi Jayasundere)