“Sunset” and “Sunrise” to carry out medical education post SAITM

Published : 9:10 am  January 5, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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MoU signed to create two institutions last December

The Government yesterday said it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the managements of South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) and the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) on December 30. 

This was to create two separate not-for-profit entities called ‘Sunset’ and ‘Sunrise’ under the SLIIT wherein the SAITM was to be abolished.   

In a statement, the Government Information Department said the SLIIT, a leading non-state and not-for-profit degree awarding institute, will establish the two institutions under the guidance of the Government. “The SLIIT will take over the ownership and management of SAITM and its assets, liabilities, staff and students. This MoU will be converted into a Legal agreement following the approval of the Attorney General’s Department,” it said.   

“According to the MoU, a new not-for-profit sunset institution will absorb all students who were in SAITM’s medical programme, as well as its assets and liabilities; at which point SAITM will be abolished.“The institution will wind-up its operations when the last batches of students from the current intake graduate. No new students will be admitted to this entity. The second not-for-profit ‘sunrise’ institution will start accepting new students from 2019,” the statement said.   

Medical education and training of the ‘sunset’ institution is to be approved by the SLMC in accordance with the minimum standards set. The Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) will specify further measures (clinical training and assessment in State hospitals) necessary for students who have received degrees from SAITM, to meet these standards and thereby gain provisional registration status.   The statement said the SLMC will grant fresh approval for the ‘sunrise’ institution upon it meeting its minimum standards qualification, through an institutional review and site visits as per their mandate and standard practice.   

“The ‘sunset’ and ‘sunrise’ institutions will not operate for profit. ‘the ‘sunrise’ institution will be a company limited by guarantee that charges fees, but re-invests any excess income over expenditure in the institution, including in the provision of scholarships based on financial needs. SLIIT is an ideal partner in his effort, with two decades of experience in providing high-quality, not-for-profit higher education,” it said.   

“Thus this practical and equitable solution recognizes, addresses and resolves the concerns expressed against SAITM, and is fully compliant with the Communiqué issued by the President on October 29, 2017,” it said.   It added, the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital will be transferred to the Ministry of Health, allowing the state medical sector to gain a Rs. 3.2 billion asset at no cost to the State.   

The government said this solution resolves concerns raised by various groups to the effect that SAITM does not meet the highest medical standards for medical education and that its profit motive will pervert the goal of creating good doctors.   

“The solution has the unanimous approval of the nine-member Committee which was chaired by Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva.