Oct 20, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said the final stand of the government on the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) will be announced next week.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the Aquinas College of Higher Studies on Thursday in Colombo, the President said everyone is aware that there were various views, criticisms and accusations on the education system, mainly in non-state institutions in the recent past.
He said every possible step has been taken to settle the SAITM issue recently and people are fully aware of the views of the students and the political organizations, who have not accepted the solutions offered by the government.
The President said a final solution to the SAITM issue will be put forward next week expressing belief that the students engaged in protest demonstrations and other who oppose the government's solutions will accept the government's final solution.
The President said the decision to announce a final solution has been taken following discussions he had with the officials of the Higher Education Ministry, Health Ministry, and University Grant Commission.
Meanwhile, the Leader of the House, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said the President will announce the final solution to the SAITM issue next Monday. He said the solution was based on the report of the Committee headed by Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva.
Minister Kiriella was responding to a question raised by Joint Opposition Parliament Group leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena regarding the government's measure for the controversial private college.
Minister Kiriella said the government held several rounds of discussions with the students, doctors, parents and deans of medical faculties of state universities to resolve the problem.
The Minister said following discussions they made a request for SAITM to halt new admissions temporarily.
"There were allegations that the standards of this private medical college were poor and the government took measures to get the SAITM students agreed to sit for the standard national examinations. After that they said the Neville Fernando hospital had no patients to provide clinical training and the government took over the hospital. Yet they are not satisfied," the Minister pointed out.
He said those who oppose the government's measures are extremists demanding to abolish the SITM. "They should reach a middle ground," the Minister said adding that the government will not close the SAITM.
The Minister pointed out that the SAITM cannot be abolished. "If we do that the SAITM students will go to courts against us. The case on the SAITM will be taken up in Supreme Court in November and we should wait for the court's decision," he said.