Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella announced yesterday (11) that the Cabinet has granted approval for the establishment of three private medical colleges within Sri Lanka.
Minister Rambukwella emphasized that these new medical institutions will adhere to the standards set by existing medical schools in the country.
Addressing a media briefing held at the Presidential Media Centre, Minister Rambukwella elaborated on the initiative, stating: “The Cabinet has already given its approval to launch three new medical colleges. These institutions must maintain the same high standards as our existing medical schools. We must consider the number of our youth who choose to study in private institutions or abroad. It is our moral duty to provide adequate facilities and opportunities for our country’s children.”
The Minister further stressed that “Professors who have worked as consultants in the medical colleges of our country have outlined minimum qualifications. There is a law that mandates other recognized medical schools in this country to meet or exceed these standards. Additionally, three hospitals have been integrated into these universities.
He also revealed that these universities have been urged to allocate scholarships to 10% of their student population, acknowledging the existence of qualified students who face financial barriers to pursuing medical education.
Minister Rambukwella took the opportunity to address concerns about the brain drain of medical professionals, attributing it to economic challenges faced by the country in 2019. He assured that the government is committed to addressing these issues, particularly regarding doctors’ remuneration.
He highlighted the need for comprehensive short, medium and long-term plans to address these challenges and pointed out that countries like England offer significantly higher salaries to medical professionals educated in Sri Lanka’s free education system.
"In furtherance of our commitment to addressing critical healthcare challenges, it is essential to consider augmenting the intake capacity in specific domains. Currently, there exist stipulated minimum qualifications and approximately 13 medical faculties throughout the country. Regrettably, only around 2000 individuals are admitted into these institutions. It is evident that there is ample room to expand these numbers, as the intellectual capabilities of our nation’s youth are beyond question. It is imperative to provide opportunities to those with foundational qualifications who aspire to excel in the medical field," he added.