SB defends giving MPMC degree awarding status

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Despite doctors threatening to strike on Wednesday (07) in protest against the granting of degree awarding status to the Malabe Private Medical College, the Higher Education Ministry yesterday reiterated its commitment to allow private universities operate in the country.

Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake told a media briefing at the University Grants Commission (UGC) yesterday that the Malabe Private Medical College (South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine - SAITM) had been seeking the degree awarding status since 2008, though the UGC gave approval after monitoring it for 2 years and 11 months.

"The SAITM had sent their application seeking approval to award degrees on September 30, 2008," he said adding that before they granted approval, the UGC team, including senior professors, consultant doctors and members from the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) inspected the institute and their programmes.

The minister said that the SAITM fulfilled the UGC’s guidelines and standards before being the degree awarding status was approved.

Dissanayake said that government’s policy was to allow private universities here, but not the way former President J. R. Jayewardena approved some private medical institutions in 1981.

He charged that although the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) was protesting against the SAITM, the sons and daughters of most of doctors were going overseas for higher education every year.

"We ask the GMOA to not to put innocent patients in trouble by launching trade union action," Dissanayake said.

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