Jun 14, 2020

GMOA committee to look into Pathirage's MBBS programme Featured

The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) has formed a five-member committee as the topic of private higher education has become a hot topic again in the country.

Assistant secretary of the GMOA - Naveen de Soysa says that the committee will probe whether recent developments of this topic are taking place due to government or private interventions.

The GMOA says they will give special consideration to the fact that the dialogue on privatized medical education has re-surfaced despite the apparent damage caused to students by privately owned institutions such as SAITM and North Colombo Medical College.

The topic had come under the limelight again with Softlogic Group’s proposed plan to launch a MBBS degree Program is expected to start this year, in partnership with the University of Aberdeen.

The announcement was initially made in a company review in 2018.

Speaking to media on this regard, Softlogic head - Ashok Pathirage had said, “Discussions are taking place with the University of Aberdeen, aimed at launching an MBBS degree through which local students can aspire to a foreign MBBS at an affordable cost.”

This degree programme, approved by the General Medical Council of the UK will enable medical students to complete their first three pre-clinical years in the University of Aberdeen followed by two clinical years at Asiri Health.

The previous government was compelled to close down the private establishment - SAITM, which was opened in 2009 by the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration to provide private medical degrees in a similar manner.

IUSF objects

Meanwhile, the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) alleges that the present government is trying to sell off the medical degree for a mere Rs. 40 million.

The IUSF adds that they are prepared to take to the streets against this at the first opportunity.

Govt. approval granted or not?

Speaking to the 'Ravaya' newspaper, minister of Higher Education - Dr. Bandula Gunawardena has stated that the government is yet to take a decision to establish private medical schools.

However, media reports also cite that the medical school planned by Softlogic has the blessings of the incumbent president - Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.