All SAITM students to be enrolled to KDU

University undergrads yesterday held a protest march from the University of Visual and Performing Arts to Colombo Fort demanding that the government stop the privatization of the university education sector. Picture by Rukmal Gamage

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday instructed that all current students in the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM ) be enrolled to the Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) medical faculty.

“The decision was arrived at during a special meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat last evening,” President’s Media Unit said in a statement. The Attorney General, the Vice Chancellor and the Dean of the KDU and the Chairman of the University Grants Commission and several other stakeholders participated at the meeting.

During discussions, a decision was taken to enroll around 1000 students currently studying at the SAITM Medical Faculty to the KDU after perusing their basic admission requirements.

Meanwhile, the President’s official Twitter page stated “after deliberating on all options and listening to all stake holders, I instructed that all current SAITM students to be transferred to Kothalawala Defense University’s Medical Faculty.” Earlier, a Special Commission appointed to resolve the SAITM issue recommended the abolition of SAITM in a manner legally acceptable to the current shareholders, lending institutions and the new entity interested in taking over all operations and management of SAITM, via the transferal of all SAITM’s assets, liabilities, staff and students to a non-state, not-for-profit degree-awarding entity that complies with the Minimum Standards on Medical Education and Training.

It was stated that the legal process to carry this out will require the creation of two separate entities, both in compliance with the Minimum Standards which was a new not-for-profit ‘sunset’ institution that will absorb all students who were in SAITM’s medical programme, as well its assets and liabilities; at which point SAITM will be abolished. The sunset institution will conclude operations when the last current batches of students graduate. No new students will be admitted to this entity.

The second was a new not-for-profit ‘sunrise’ institution that will start accepting new students from 2019. On December 30,2017, the Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SAITM and the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) tom carry out the above recommendations. However, several stakeholders involved in the SAITM issue later agitated and handed over a letter to the President requesting him to enroll all students currently at the Malabe private medical university to the KDU medical faculty.

 

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