SLMC to appeal Court directive on SAITM student registration

Saturday, 18 February 2017 02:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Highlights their only concern is quality
  • Calls on those concerned over quality of state medical faculties to propose to shut them down
  • IUSF holds motorcade to protest SAITM

The Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) yesterday announced its decision to appeal in the Supreme Court the recent Court of Appeal directive issued to the regulatory body to grant provisional registration to graduates of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine.

“We have decided to appeal to the Supreme Court, we are well within the stipulated time of 42 days before which we have to file action,” SLMC President Prof. Carlo Foneseka said.  

The Council will put on hold registering any SAITM students until the Appeal is heard, he said.

The long awaited Medical Education Standards regulation was also featured during the Council meeting with a decision being taken to push for adoption of the regulation as soon as possible.

Accordingly, Director General of Health Services Dr. Jayasundara Bandara who is an Ex-Officio member of the SLMC has taken the undertaking to push the minimum standards regulation, Daily FT learnt.

Clarifying the stance taken by the Council, Prof. Fonseka insisted that the SLMC is “only concerned about the standards”.

“We play a subordinate role in the Higher Education authorities in implementation. The University Grants Commission is responsible for practical conduct of standards in the universities,” he said.

Last week, former Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake and current subject Minister Lakshman Kiriella both highlighted shortcomings in a number of state medical faculties as well as the faculty at the Kotelawala Defence University (KDU), accusing the SLMC of bias against the private school.

The SLMC defended their stance on the matter highlighting that the shortcoming in SAITM with emphasis on its graduates’ lack of clinical exposure. Prof. Foneseka further said that “state universities know how they supplement each other” and that “more importantly there is a plentiful supply of patients for all the faculties.”

“Deficiency is with regard to clinical training and exposure for SAITM students. If anyone thinks that the state faculties are not up to standard, then they can press for closure. If there is substandard medical faculties, those should shut down and not allow further substandard institutions to be added,” Prof. Fonseka said.

The deans of the state medical faculties, who are also members of the SLMC, presented Kiriella with a set of proposals to address the issues raised regarding SAITM, including a suggestions to halt registrations. The Private medical school has not officially communicated their stand on the matter to the Ministry yet.

The Inter University Students’ Union yesterday held a large scale motorcade to protest the SAITM medical faculty, reaching Colombo from three different routes, despite advice by President Maithripala Sirisena to not take to streets.

Meeting with student representatives on Thursday, the President advised medical students of state universities to return to studies till an amicable solution is given, promising that the interests of those students will be safeguarded. Students of state sector medical faculties have taken to boycotting lectures in protest of the Government’s decision to support SAITM, leading to delays in the whole academic process leading the Deans to raise concerns.