SAITM - Success against all odds!
By Shanika Perera

The South Asian lnstitute of Technology and Management (SA|TM) situated on a picturesque expanse of land in Malabe is the first private sector 'Green Campus' in Sri Lanka.

Dr Neville Fernando

Having begun in 2009, the lnstitute comprises of 4 faculties. Namely the Faculty of Medicine affiliated to the Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy in Russia, The Faculty of Engineering affiliated to The Asian lnstitute of Technology Bangkok, The Faculty of ICT & Media affiliated to The University of Ners Buckinghamshir*, and The Faculty of Management & Finance affiliated to the New Buckinghamshire University.

Following the success of the first intake, the interest and admissions for the second intake have been very high. This has prompted the purchase of a further 5 acres of land close to the existing campus where another academic structure will be built which will focus on the Engineering Faculty as there seems to be a growing demand for degrees in this field.

The initiation of the Medical Faculty, and in fact the entire process of starting up the institute were riddled with various obstacles from the onset. However Dr Neville Fernando, founder of SAITM, MBBS (Ceylon), and Former Member of Parliament for Panadura was always persistent in achieving his vision for the young generation of Sri Lanka. "The advent of privatized educational institutes is a question of going forward. Given the rapid flow of knowledge to other countries from Sri Lanka, the private sector is needed in order to cater to the needs of the present generation. This does not mean that the free education system is being abolished. The private sector is merely offering another alternative" said Dr Neville Fernando .

Freedom of [ducaticn is a Furldamental Right
His Excellency the President, together with the Ministry of Higher Education and Health have given SAITM the much needed support and assistance during the past year. This is further seen through the recent monitoring of the lnstitute by the UGC. Having closely monitored the teaching standards, and facilities offered by SAITM, the UGC will shortly confer upon the institute the status of a degree awarding institution.

SAITM, at present catering to mainly Sri Lankans has hopes to expand and cater to students from the South Asian Region - at first- and then even further in the years to come. Already 15 students have enrolled from the Maldives. SAITM also hopes to sign an agreement with Pakistan in the near future with regard to the Engineering Degrees offered.

The state-of-the-art facilities offered by SAITM are the best of their kind. The 5S* seat auditorium is well equipped with modern technology,the libraries are stocked with the latest literature, the computer laboratories boast of the latest lT technologies and the institute possesses 38 i-mac computers. The gymnasium also comes with professional trainers. The cafeteria, open spaces to study, the transport provided from the main road to the campus are all part of the full learning experience offered at SAITM.
The teaching staff at the lnstitute too is the cream of its kind, with a PhD being a requisite for all lecturers. Every effort is made to ensure the students get individual attention and a practical class has only ten students with a multimedia projector connected to the internet and have access to facilities necessary to give them a well rounded education. lt has facilities tc transmit to Sri Lankan students while the lecture is delivered in Russia. The same facility will be available for engineering students with lectures being transmitted from Bangkok.

It is Dr Neville Fernando's vision to produce educated students with character who will possess the backbone and the know how to further develop Sri Lanka and who will be able to give back to their country what they got from her.

Having witnessed the transformation his vision has made in the hearts and minds of many - together with his iron willed determination, there can be no doubt that SAITM is certainly poised to take Sri Lanka's higher education to the next Ievel.

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