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SAITM issue to be completely resolved this week: Harsha

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 22 January 2018 01:56


By Shannon Jayawardena

The outstanding issues with the South Asian Institute of Technology and Management (SAITM) are finally to be resolved by the end of this week, Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva said yesterday.

The Government has put forward two solutions to the problems plaguing SAITM, with the first being the inclusion of the minimum standard gazette which is to be finalised today which will qualify all students at an equal level. The second solution is for the students to be transferred to two new institutions under the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), which is a non-profit organisation.

  • President to provide fullest support so that issue can be resolved by end of this week
  • All SAITM students to be placed at two new institutes under SLIIT by January 2019
  • Minimum standard gazette to be finalised today

Minister de Silva said: “I have already given the SAITM committee’s report to the President and after analysing it together with advisors, with slight amendments as per the Government’s stance, it was published on 29 October last year. After that the President elected another committee to activate and take actions according to the President’s resolution regarding the report.”

This committee was headed by Minister de Silva together with the Ministry of Higher Education Secretary, Ministry of Health Secretary, Sri Lanka Medical Association President, Colombo and Sri Jayewardenepura Vice Chancellor, Colombo and Kelaniya Medical Faculty Dean and the University Grants Commission Chairman as committee members.

“After in-depth discussion, we decided to bring a quick solution to the whole problem. Upon the abolishment of SAITM, all its students from the first year to the fifth and final year will be placed at two other institutes. However, all responsibilities of SAITM and its students and officials with the approval and understanding of all will be abolished. This is the rightful act,” he stressed.

Minister de Silva also stated that there were several stakeholders involved such as SLIIT and Bank of Ceylon (BOC) who had funded billions in SAITM and the Neville Fernando Hospital. 

“The problem is to be solved according to the minimum standard gazette which will qualify all students for medical education and training. Without this no problem can be solved. We advise that this be done as quickly as possible. Finally it is happening for the first time as it is to be put forward today,” the Minister added.

He also said that as per these recommendations by the SAITM management committee and the Government the two main issues against SAITM would be resolved. Firstly the question of whether the public would get the same quality medication from the doctors who qualify from SAITM would be solved while secondly the question of whether medical schools should be run by profit-making private institutes would also be solved, as SLIIT was a company limited by guarantee.

“But we observed if the standards are maintained and profit-making is not the main aim then the common people are in favour of any medical institute as long as they provide the right treatment for the public,” he denoted.

“This will save over $ 100 million which many parents spend annually to educate their children at foreign universities. Most of these students who go abroad for higher studies usually never return to the country as well. Hence the solution put forward by the Government was agreed by the committee anonymously.”

Minister de Silva observed that his committee completed all resolutions on the 30th of December last year a day before the dead line and handed over the report to the Attorney General. The Attorney General after reading the report confirmed that the solutions be proceeded as per recommendations.

“Yesterday I discussed about this whole issue with the President and he advised me to complete the process of resolving the problem before the end of this week. He also said that I should give my fullest towards bringing the issue to an end while he too would give his fullest support.”

The two new institutes one which Minister referred to as the Sunset institute which will both be under SLIIT will finally provide all SAITM students with a permanent fix and will provide all medical students the opportunity to fulfill their dreams.

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