Around 100 Lankans have passed out since 1995
Rigas Stradina Universitate in Latvia opens its doors to
Sri Lankan medical students
By Steve A. Morrell
After strictures of Soviet Rule since World War II, Latvia is now an independent State in the upper Straits of Europe. She is flanked by Lithuania, and Estonio. Latvia with the same land mass of Sri Lanka, about 64,000 square Kilometers, has a population of just 2.5 million.
Dean, Rigas Stradina Universitate (RSU), Dr. Ms. Samuidra Zermanos, and Director, Department of Academic and Foreign Affairs, Dr. Ms. Juta Kroica were in Sri Lanka last week to project the image of RSU, and its accessibility to students who wished to pursue medical studies in Lativia.
Addressing the media, Dr. Zermanos said after years of Soviet domination Latvia is now an independent sovereign state and guide its own systems of governance. Medical studies is one such area for self advancement.
However, the difference, quite unusual in Soviet countries, is that the medium of instruction is English. Stemming from latitude emanating from decision for instruction in English, RSU opened its doors to students from other countries including the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, and most countries in the Asia Pacific archipelago., she noted.
Dr. Zermanos said the medical degree programme has a study period of six years, and results in attaining an MD, which is above an MBBS qualification awarded to those who earn a medical degree locally.
Dr. Kroica said RSU accepted foreign students since about 1990. The university offered 100 placings each year to foreign students to earn medical degrees.
She said over the past few years since 1995, around 100 students from Sri Lanka graduated and have been absorbed into the medical profession.
She named one such former Sri Lankan RSU student, Dr. Vimukthi Pathiraja, who now works for the Harvard Medical School in the USA as a top specialist
The response from Sri Lankan students has been encouraging and the process of enrolment for the new intake is now in progress, Dr. Kroica noted. "We are very happy with the response".
Questioned on costs, Dr. Zermanos said course fee amounts to 7000 Euros per year. These costs did not include residential fees and food. Residential commitments would be approximately 300 Euros per month, and food would be an extra commitment.
Can students work? She said ‘Yes’, but qualified that statement saying usually medical students don’t have time to work and study. Strict time tables for studies do not include spare time to work. "It is not a physical possibility", she said.
The RSU study course has been a complementary adjunct to the medical degree here, she noted.
Questioned by the press on reasons for students from, for instance western countries like the US , UK, or Canada, to opt for studies in the RSU, she said the degree achievement in Latvia is far less costly than most Western Universities. For example, a degree from most Universities in the UK would cost upwards 20,000 Sterling each year. It was so with US Universities as well.
What is so appealing about the RSU Medical Degree? "Cost and international recognition", she answered. More so, individual attention because students do not comprise more that 14 in each group. Intense instruction and individual attention could be imparted bearing in mind course projections for greater student participation in academic work. They do not teach other academic disciplines at RSU.
The prospectus issued at the press brief indicated course commencement each year September and February, for full time studies. Six years or 12 semesters was the period for studies to attain 360 credits. The MD qualification was its achievement goal. The medium of instruction is either English or Latvian..