FSP ask President to abolish private medical colleges



By Saman Indrajith

Frontline Socialist Party yesterday called upon President Maithripala Sirisena not to cary forward the previous government’s policy of selling medical degrees and suppressing students who voiced their opposition.

Addressing a press conference at the Centre for Society and Religion in Maradana, Politburo Member of the FSP Duminda Nagamuwa said President Sirisena as Minister of Health had said in Parliament that he would not permit the existence of private medical colleges or private teaching hospitals.

"He said so twice in 2011. On June 20, 2011 he said that private teaching hospitals were illegal. Again in November of the same year he promised to take action against the private teaching hospital set up by South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine. No action has been taken yet, even after he has become the President."

Nagamuwa said a fresh gazette notification bearing the No LDB/21/1978/X and under the signature of Higher Education Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama had been issued recently permitting the SAITM to conduct two more BSc degree programmes – one in civil engineering and another in mechanical engineering.

"This is to enable SAITM to start obtaining money from parents promising degrees to their children. The latest gazette notification will add further turmoil to the present chaos at the SAITM.  There were many gazette notifications issued by the previous regime permitting the SAITM to conduct academic programmes leading to medical degrees.

"All the favourable gazettes for the sustenance of SAITM were issued by former higher education minister S.B. Dissanayake, while medical professors, doctors and students were protesting against it. Some of those gazettes were later withdrawn due to protests," Nagamuwa said.

He said the government had come to power promising change. "With regard to the SAITM we see only one change – now Dr Amunugama signs documents in favour of it instead of S.B. Dissanayake. Suranga Priyadarshana of the National Operative Committee of the FSP also addressed the briefing.

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