President Appoints Another Committee to Escape Responsibility for SAITM Issue !


Despite the parents of medical students started fast unto death demanding closure of SAITM, President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed another committee to implement the recommendations of the committee previously appointed on the issue.

Almost all the university students have called the closure of SAITM while their teachers, have proposed government a solution accepted by many sections interested on the SAITM issue. However the president or the cabinet never hel discussions with the students or their parents. President appointed a committee previously headed by deputy minister Harsha de Silva to find solutions favourable for all the factions, but the outcome was only a name change and transfer of ownership of the private medical college. So the students, parents of the university teachers harshly condemned the proposals calling it an attempt to safeguard SAITM. The new nine-member committee will be inclusive of all relevant parties including the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) and the university student unions, who will serve as observers. A statement issued by the Presidential Secretariat today (6) stated that the committee appointed by the President, is chaired by Harsha de Silva, who held the same position in the previous committee.

However, various sections had proposed that further discussion were required to bring those proposals to the level where they can be wholly accepted by medical students, university teachers and the parents of medical students.  However the student unions say that they were not called for any discussions yet.

Following are the members of the latest committee appointed by the president:

  1. Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Dr. Harsha de Silva (chairman)
    2. Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine, Janaka Sugathadasa
    3. Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education and Highways, D.C. Dissanayake
    4. Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), Prof. Mohan de Silva
    5. Chairman of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC), Prof. Colvin Gunaratne
    6. Vice Chancellor of Colombo University, Prof. Lakshman Dissanayake
    7. Vice Chancellor of the Sri Jayewardenapura University, Prof. Sampath Amaratunga
    8. Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Prof. Jennifer Perera
    9. Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Prof. Nilanthi de Silva

Observation level (one representative each):

  1. Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA)
    2. Faculty of Medicine Teachers’ Association
    3. Medical students/parents unions