Dispelling media reports, the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) management in a statement said it had not received any intimation from the government of a possible nationalisation of the institution.
“It has been brought to our attention that certain media reports carry the headlines of a possible nationalization of SAITM by the government. The management of SAITM wishes to place on record that no such intimation has come from any government source regarding such an action,” the statement said.
“In December 2015 Chairman of SAITM forwarded a proposal to President Maithripala Sirisena inviting the government to establish a private-public partnership for the hospital of SAITM, which is currently under discussion with the relevant authorizes, which does not include any proposal for nationalization of this institution,” it added.
SAITM is established as a Board of Investment (BOI) company and recognized as a degree-awarding institute by Gazette Notification No 1721/19 date August 30, 2011 and No 1829/30 dated September 26, 2013.
“President Maithripala Sirisena, who was the Minister of Health at the time SAITM was established, fully supported this venture, recognizing the potential value of such a venture both the education sector as well as the health sector.
It is indeed disappointing that the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) continues to make unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations against SAITM, the only private higher education institute in Sri Lanka for medicine, especially when there is a dire need for qualified medical personnel in the country and the state universities have been unable to meet the demand.
Educational institutions providing the local students an affordable opportunity to secure a medical degree, is a necessity for this country and successive governments have encouraged our venture, as it offers a very satisfactory and affordable option for the future generations in the field of medicine and discourages migration of young intellects to other countries in pursuant of higher studies.
Furthermore, there is potential for Sri Lanka to be an education hub in Asia and medical degrees have a high demand. We believe the GMOA’s objection to this venture primarily stems from a desire to protect their members’ own personal interests - limiting the competition in the profession by keeping the intake to the medical profession at a bare minimum,” the SAITM statement said.