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SAITM+to+be+abolished
Sunday, 29 October 2017 - 12:49
SAITM to be abolished
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The government has decided to abolish SAITM which is owned by Dr Neville Fernando and convert it to a not-for-profit institute.

Issuing a communique, the Department of Government Information said it will be functioned under the Ministry of Higher Education and University Grants Commission.

Accordingly, new enrollments to SAITM will be stopped and new enrollments will be made only after the new entity is established which will have minimum standards required for medical education.

The Presidential Committee to resolve issues related to the faculty of medicine of SAITM, after considering the recommendations made by numerous stakeholders, has presented eight proposals to arrive at a permanent solution that is reasonable to all stakeholders and is in line with the government policy.

First Proposal:
Abolishing the medical faculty of SAITM. This shall be done in a manner legally acceptable to the current shareholders, lending institutions and the new entity interested in taking over all operations and management of the medical faculty of SAITM on a not-for-profit basis, thus ending the ownership and management structure of the medical faculty of SAITM. The profit-oriented entity owned and managed by Dr Neville Fernando and family would thereby cease to exist.

Second Proposal:
By an agreement reached by the above parties, the assets, liabilities, staff and students of SAITM medical faculty shall be transferred to a non-state, not-for-profit making degree awarding entity that will comply with the minimum standards of medical education and training.

Third Proposal:
The Government has consulted several already established non-state, not-for-profit entities with the objective of establishing the proposed not-for-profit entity for this purpose. Detailed discussions in this regard with interested parties shall start very soon.

Fourth Proposal:
The new entity shall recognize all students currently enrolled at SAITM medical faculty who possess the required entry qualifications. Opportunity will be afforded to these students to continue medical education in the proposed new institution.

Fifth Proposal:
Issues in respect of former students who have completed their degree course at SAITM medical faculty should be addressed on the advice of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, based on the determination of the Supreme Court case filed on the same. Arrangements shall be made for the said students who have completed the degree at SAITM medical faculty to undergo clinical training at recommended government hospitals.

Sixth Proposal:
Admission of medical students to SAITM medical faculty has been suspended by the letter issued by the Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education on the 15th of September 2017. This suspension will continue to be in effect. Accordingly, all new admissions shall be made to the new entity, when only complying with the minimum standards of medical education and training. The Government shall cooperate on all endeavours to make available, through financial institutions, subsidized student loan schemes to eligible students from low-income families to meet the cost of tuition and fees.

Seventh Proposal:
Current shareholders of SAITM medical faculty shall not participate in the ownership or management of the new entity. The cooperation of Dr Neville Fernando and family is extremely important in this regard.

Eighth Proposal:
The Ministry of Health shall gazette and place before Parliament the agreed minimum standards for medical education and training based on the draft submitted by the Sri Lanka Medical Council, upon conclusion of discussions with the SLMC, the Hon. Attorney General and other relevant stakeholders. This task must be mandatorily completed within one month from today.

The communiqué further noted that a committee of high-level officials will be appointed to implement the proposed measures and that the entire process should be completed mandatorily by the end of this year.

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