(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Committee of Vice Chancellors have announced that they are pleased with the solution put forward by the Presidential Committee appointed to resolve the much fraught South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) issue.

Speaking to the Daily News, Prof Ranjith Wijewardana, Chairman of the CVCD said that they were collectively pleased with the new proposals that have been put forward and were of the opinion that the decision by the committee is fair to all parties involved.

“Our main concern is students who are abstaining from attending lecturers,” he said.

“We urge them to return to their studies and continue their clinical training as they’ve been doing so in the past.”

“Since a positive solution has been created for all medical students of State universities to continue their education and clinical training, we, the Vice Chancellors, insist on them to engage in their academic work with immediate effect,” the statement by the CVCD read.

Ironically, their statement comes in the wake of a resumption of protests by the Medical Faculty Students’ Action committee against SAITM. Since yesterday the students have commenced a satyagraha outside the National Hospital in Colombo.

Convener, Ryan Jayalath stated that their satyagraha will be held throughout the day and warned that similar protests would take place on a district basis. Their Satyagraha coincides with the hunger strike, which is to be launched by the Medical Faculty Students’ Parents Association.

When asked if there would be repercussions on students who continued to abstain from lectures and protest, Prof. Wijewardana added that ‘such action is yet to be seen.’ Prof.Wijewardana did not declare that there won’t be any action but stated that it was to be discussed.

Meanwhile Prof. Ranil Fernando, President of the Kelaniya University Faculty of Medicine Teachers’ Association welcomed the proposals by the committee adding that “it is a positive step towards solving the crisis faced by medical education in this country.”

In their statement, they have urged students to return to their studies immediately.

The Government Medical Officers Association says it is not in agreement with the content of the notification issued by Dr. Neville Fernando pertaining to the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine.

The GMOA however has expressed reservations over the proposals put forward, citing that they need to meet with the President to clarify some of the suggestions.

Dr.Haritha Aluthge said it is commendable the Government decided to abolish SAITM, remove the ownership of SAITM from its current owner and his family and to legalise the minimum standards of medical education, according to the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) document. They have however offered their support on certain conditions.

He said he was confused about the proposed new institution to be set up after abolishing SAITM.

“Whatever new institution must obtain the compliance certificate from the SLMC. This new institution should be scrutinised by a state body. The Government/State Policy mentioned in the Government’s statement is not clear at all,” he said.

“An Interim Committee should be appointed under the SLMC, immediately, to look into the issue of current students in SAITM. The country’s law should be implemented against the current SAITM owner for all grave offences committed by him so far,” he added.

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