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President wades into SAITM storm

President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday that students of State medical faculties will not be subjected to any negatives arising from issues to do with the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM).

He added he would assume an independent stance on the issue. The President is set to discuss the matter with all, perhaps this week or early next week, in an effort to thrash out a solution acceptable to all concerned.

The President also requested medical students of State Universities, who are currently boycotting classes, to return to their lectures immediately.

Earlier this month the Court of Appeal issued a verdict upholding SAITM's legal authority to award a Medical Degree, and ordered the Sri Lanka Medical Council to ensure SAITM's degree holders are duly registered as qualified medical practitioners.

Meanwhile, Minister of Higher Education Lakshman Kiriella said at the weekly Cabinet media briefing on 8 February that the Court Order relating to SAITM could have been avoided if the Sri Lanka Medical Council had agreed to grant the graduates the opportunity to sit the Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine in Sri Lanka (ERPM) or the Act 16 Examination.