The Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) has reportedly refused to register the first batch of 30 medical students, who had passed out from the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM).
The aggrieved students are said to be preparing a petition seeking redress to be filed in the Supreme Court. The SAITM has been functioning amid protests by some medical professionals and students’ unions of State universities.
When asked for his views on this matter, Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella told Daily Mirror that he hoped the Supreme Court would mete out justice to the students concerned.
He said about 700 students were studying for their medical degrees at SAITM and were anxiously awaiting a ruling from the SC so that this matter would be resolved once and for all.
The minister said SAITM was a degree-awarding institution recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
“SAITM students are in this predicament because of the actions of the previous regime. It is now the responsibility of the present government to solve this matter,” he said and added that the government encouraged private sector involvement to develop the higher education sector.
“That is how other countries have developed. With World Bank assistance, we hope to introduce quality assurance at State Universities and non-State Higher Education Institutions,” the minister said. “Today, only 17 per cent of Advanced Level students are admitted to State universities. Students who excel in their A/L studies have been denied access to universities because of the prevailing quota system for underprivileged districts. For example, a student who sits the A/L examination in Colombo and obtains distinctions in all subjects may not be eligible to enter a university while a student with lesser qualifications from an underprivileged district enters the university.” (Kelum Bandara)