SAITM abolished, to function as non-profit Medical College

Sri Lanka’s Government yesterday said that the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), a privately-owned medical faculty would be abolished and converted into a non-profit college.

A committee established by President Maithripala Sirisena has recommended several proposals to arrive at a permanent solution which is reasonable to all stakeholders and in keeping with Government policy.

The assets and liabilities of the private medical college will be transferred to a new entity while the students could continue their studies here and be given training at Government hospitals.

The SAITM issue began following a Court of Appeal ruling in January for the Sri Lanka Medical Council to provisionally register a graduate of the college.

Dr. Neville Fernando, founder and chairman of SAITM said he embarked on setting up of the collage as a service to the nation.

The full statement follows:

The Statement issued on the solutions proposed by the Presidential Committee appointed by his Excellency Maithripala Siriesna to solve the problems arisen in the Faculty of Medicine at SAITM.

The Presidential Committee to Resolve Issues Related to the Faculty of Medicine of South Asia Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), having considered the recommendations made by numerous stakeholder groups, including the Deans of Faculties of Medicine of all State Universities, has proposed the following proposals to arrive at a permanent solution that is reasonable to all stakeholders and in keeping with Government Policy.

It is a timely requirement in the spirit of democracy that all parties cooperate to ensure the implementation of the proposed solutions, to cease disruptions thus far caused to the smooth functioning of universities and especially to provide an opportunity to students to return for education.

In keeping with the principle of justice to all stakeholders, the Government hopes to implement the following courses of action:

1. Abolishing SAITM (hereinafter SAITM means its Faculty of Medicine): 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 SAITM on a not-for-profit basis, thus ending the ownership and management structure of SAITM.

The profit oriented entity owned and managed by Dr. Neville Fernando and family would thereby cease to exist.

2.By an agreement reached by the above parties, the assets, liabilities, staff and students of SAITM shall be transferred to a non-state, not-for-profit making (that will utilize any excess income over expenditure of the organization for development or research or scholarships, without distributing among shareholders) degree awarding entity that will comply with the Minimum Standards on Medical Education and Training (to be legislated).

3. 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.

The Presidential Committee to Resolve Issues Related to the Faculty of Medicine of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine, having considered the recommendations made by numerous stakeholder groups, including the Deans of Faculties of Medicine of all State Universities, has proposed several proposals to arrive at a permanent solution which is reasonable to all stakeholders and in keeping with Government policy.

“It is a timely requirement in the spirit of democracy that all parties cooperate to ensure the implementation of the proposed solutions, to cease disruptions thus far caused to the smooth functioning of universities and especially to provide an opportunity for students to return for education,” said the statement released by the Government Information Department. (LBO)

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