Sri Lanka: SAITM fiasco — Between a rock and a hard place

What do I hope for, though I’ve lost a year of my life for this?

( October 8, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The SAITM fiasco that has been dragging on for a near decade now, continues rack up casualties along its path, as someone who has been the midst of all this, the last year had been a roller-coaster ride of emotions.

We, the state medical students that went for a full-on class strike January this month, has inadvertently given birth to a monster in the quest to slay another. The inspiration for the struggle, when this all started, was drawn from the previous one; the one that triumphed with nationalizing of the NCMC, and creation of the Ragama medical faculty. It paved way for thousands of very bright young men and women to become Doctors and serve their nation, irrespective of their family finances. When there are only limited resources to medical education, the opportunities should be on a merit basis, not on how much your parents make; I believe It’s something that all of us can agree, no matter which side of the isle you are.

In a bid to make this struggle feasible the medical students had to get other parties involved, parties that have their own politics (let us not be naïve here, we all know deep down how this nation functions at its heart). So, the last few months had been a true of tug of war more than anything else, with every group wanting to capitalize on the political value of this struggle, the groups being GMOA, JVP, FLS (Peratugami) and JO. And of course, the Yahapalana government with its ministers (Rajitha, Kiriella and S.B. mainly) bought and paid for by Neville Fernando to do his bidding, to put things on perspective, for the financial year of 2016 SAITM made projected Rs. 4000million approx. only second to Perpetual Treasuries, and that’s saying something. So where does it leave the students? 6000 medical students of state faculties, which includes all the highest achievers of GCE ALs for more than half a decade, more than 5000 foreign medical graduates who are waiting for resumption of ERPM exams, and more than 1000 SAITM graduates who themselves got caught up in the scam. Or to put it bluntly the next generation of doctors who you and I will count on with our lives.

So even if the medical students do want to attend classes, the reins that control everything has long been long taken from them; What’s left is the air of intimidation and blackmail. The captains that steer this ship are of two kinds, the ones want to climb up the political ladder and become future MPs and what not, and other kind is the ones that are working for their Utopia starting with an October revolution.

So, what do I hope for? though I’ve lost a year of my life for this, I still wish this would finalize without causing loss of precious life like the previous struggle, and more than anything, without causing a mother to cry for the loss her child.

Anonymous state medical student

Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

Sri Lanka Guardian has been providing breaking news & views for the progressive community since 2007. We are independent and non-profit.

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