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Private Medical University still in crisis

14 September 2011 09:01 pm - 10     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) yesterday charged that the Higher Education Ministry would cripple the medical faculties of local universities by giving legal recognition to the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) a Malabe private medical faculty, which has been the subject of controversy.

Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake last month signed a gazette notification giving legal recognition to SAITM which GMOA spokesman Dr. Upul Gunasekara said was a bad precedent for other institutions which may be established in the future.

He asked why the minister was not paying as much attention to the medical faculties of local universities such as the Rajarata and Batticaloa universities where there was a dire shortage of facilities.

“Why is the minister pushing so hard to legalise this private medical university through gazette notifications, by appointing committees and providing loan schemes when in the first place it does not have the legal right to be there? We should instead focus on the medical faculties at our local universities which are in need of attention,” Dr. Gunasekara said. “The Higher Education Ministry’s decision to legalise it will cripple the medical profession in the country.”

He said all the qualified university lecturers were part time lecturers at medical faculties of local universities, which would come under threat if the ministry went ahead with its decision to give legal recognition to such institutions in future. He said local universities would suffer from a shortage of lecturers as they will choose to work in the private institutions.

He said these lecturers are working at the private university on a temporary basis or are on sabbatical leave which usually is only provided for two years for research purposes. The rest of the staff, he said are unqualified lecturers who have done their studies overseas and that many of them have failed that Act16 examination which gives legal recognition to medically qualified doctors in Sri Lanka. He said the institution’s vice chancellor was also holding a part time position at the institution as she works at the Peradeniya University as the Professor of Anatomy. Meanwhile the Health Ministry and the Sri Lankan Medical Council have still not given their approval to the Malabe private medical faculty. (Olindhi Jayasundere)

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  Comments - 10

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  • nagi Thursday, 15 September 2011 06:11 AM

    We are the only country which does not have private medical universities & we are in dire need of same. Jealousies of our people should not be taken seriously in this day & age we are moving forward. Lets face it our uni system has failed with JVP etc.. getting in creating havoc most of the time they are closed & a student looses 02-03yrs. The ragging to those in affluent schools are hard to tolerate at our uni. Final conclusion private medical uni should go ahead.

    RF Thursday, 15 September 2011 06:21 AM

    The local universities would suffer because university lecturers choose to work in the private institutions. Don't government hospitals suffer when your members work in private hospitals? Doctor heal thyself!

    Fanam Thursday, 15 September 2011 06:28 AM

    Minister is so interested in get this going because of the lump some amount that he will be getting from these private university owners. If he is so interested in developing the education, let him focus on Computer Science, Engineering, Management which will have a future. If we really want to have private Medical Universities, they should be governed by the local bodies and exams should be held by National Universities to make sure that they are in par with local standards.

    chandanafe Thursday, 15 September 2011 02:56 PM

    I totally agree with U . The outcome U get is poor after medical education in Sri Lanka.That is why some doctors leave the country.

    MalinD Thursday, 15 September 2011 09:04 AM

    If we want to come up like other Asian countries we have to let go of these selfish ideas. Sri Lankan youth these day are much educated than 50-60 years ago, and most of them are looking for recognized jobs. If the government cant not give them university education freely (practically not possible) the only was forward if Private Facilities. GMOA is just trying keep their monopoly alive.

    mif Thursday, 15 September 2011 09:47 AM

    The government should fund local universities for bright financially feeble students. There is no argument about that. But there has to be a ceiling on this number. When there are people to spend and study medicine. Why should the government keep spending tax payer money to create additional vacancies?And those who pass out form local universities utilizing public funds are not bound to remain in the country, and serve the people who funded their education. They can migrate at their will. And serve another nation. Is this Justice?

    Viraj Hewage Thursday, 15 September 2011 10:00 AM

    Those who acquired higher educational qualifications on their own in private institutions foreign or local

    This category must be allowed to move freely as they owe no debt to the state ( for higher education).

    The above may sound radical, yes it is. Here is another possibility, make people pay for higher education provided by state institutions and / or lift the salaries of state universities to a reasonable / competitive level.

    Everything is difficult. The whole point is no state can provide anything free of cost. The economics does not work simply. Sacrifices at individual level will be needed.

    Viraj Hewage Thursday, 15 September 2011 10:00 AM

    Bank loan for needy students

    This is a very good mechanism indeed. Repayment should be long term. Among other things the burden of repayment is likely to be shifted to students ( not the parents or guardians). This will help mitigate the popular belief (among children/dependents and parents alike) that parents are duty bound to educate them at any cost.
    I like the idea of earring your own education (you pay your self and show character without burdening others for it)

    Quality assurance and accreditation of private institution by the state ministry of higher education

    This again is a very good idea. 6 years back a similar thing happened in Dubai, UAE . Most institutions had to upgrade its standards or close down.

    Viraj Hewage Thursday, 15 September 2011 09:54 AM

    Return on investment

    Private universities must be asked to publish in
    web sites and brochures the likely return on investment for each course advertised.

    For example :
    If a bachelors degree costs 25 lakhs over 3 years
    ( + another 5 lakhs on transport / boooks and exam fees ), the total cost to student is 30 lakhs.

    Say the average starting salary in SL for that qualification is RS 25,000 a month. Then the student has to work roughly 10 years to earn that money back ( it is possibly more). So then the student or parents can work out whether the program makes economic sense. What if the student spends the 30 lakhs on starting his/her own business? What are the chances that he / she will get a better return over 10 years?

    Viraj Hewage Thursday, 15 September 2011 10:02 AM

    I am not a qualified educationist or an economist.
    I am human being with an average brain ( like all of us).
    I thought my comments largely based on my personal experiences would help in seeing things in a different perspective. Remember what Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge “.

    I generally support any and all well intended initiatives that would make Sri Lanka debt free , self sufficient and its people happy , healthy and wealthy. We must follow the president’s vision. All solutions are long term and we must be patient.


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