The Higher Education Ministry is working out a program to increase the number of medical students to State universities by establishing two more medical faculties in Kuliyapitiya and Ratnapura while also increasing the intake of medical students to State universities by 50 this year, University Grants Commission Chairman Prof. Mohan de Silva told the Sunday Observer.
Commenting on the SAITM medical faculty judgment, the UGC Chairman said the new medical faculties will be established under the Wayamba and Sabaragamuwa Universities to increase the intake of medical students to State universities.
The foundation stone has been laid for the construction of the medical faculty in Kuliyapitiya and a plot of land adjacent to the Ratnapura Teaching Hospital has been allocated for the medical faculty of the Sabaragamauwa University, he said.
Commenting on the facilities available at State medical faculties, Prof. de Silva said the faculties should make use of the opportunity to given them to recruit foreign students, to improve facilities, as government policy allows up to 4.5 per cent foreign students to be enrolled to these faculties.
“This is how medical faculties in the region are developed. Many medical faculties are not making use of this facility,” he said.
He said the Higher Education Ministry and the University Grants Commission are developing an independent quality assurance and accreditation mechanism for State and non State sector higher education institutions.
“The establishment of this independent body will assure the quality of higher education institutions, both government and private and it will ensure that no ad hoc mechanism will be adopted when recognizing degree-awarding institutions,” he said.
However, he said, this independent body cannot bypass the Sri Lanka Medical Council as speculated by certain groups. - RW