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Medical Specialists Association Raises Concerns Over Proposed Changes to Medical School Entry Criteria

The Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) has voiced apprehensions regarding proposed alterations to the entry criteria for fee-levying medical undergraduate programs at Kothalawala Defense University’s state-owned medical school.

Traditionally, admissions to medical faculties in Sri Lanka have relied primarily on the Advanced Level Examinations Z score, with the University Grants Commission (UGC) allowing a slight allocation of additional marks for students excelling in extracurricular activities. This approach has been lauded for fostering equal opportunities irrespective of economic or social status.

In a press release, the AMS contends that modifying the existing criteria could introduce unfair advantages for economically and socially advantaged students, disrupting the equitable playing field. Concerns arise over factors such as the cost and accessibility of specific extracurricular activities, biased assessments, and potential favoritism during admissions, exacerbating existing inequalities.

Additionally, the AMS underscores the necessity to reassess the minimum entry criteria for medical undergraduate courses, suggesting that current standards may lag behind international benchmarks. As an increasing number of students achieve high results in the Advanced Level Examinations, aligning Sri Lanka’s standards with global norms is deemed imperative.

Furthermore, the AMS stresses the importance of updating the cadre of medical officers in the state sector to accommodate the healthcare system’s expansion. This entails addressing potential unemployment among medical graduates in the future and ensuring recruitment based on merit, with preference given to graduates from state medical schools.

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