KDU ensures transparency in admission of civilian students to MBBS programme

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University - KDU - Sri Lanka

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU), operating under Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence, clarifies the admission process for civilian students to its MBBS Degree Programme.

The MBBS Degree Programme, conducted by KDU’s Faculty of Medicine, began in 2009 to address the shortage of medical doctors in Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces. With the Armed Forces’ requirements gradually met, KDU started admitting civilian students, specifically children of expatriates, to the MBBS programme in 2013, thus generating much-needed foreign exchange for the country.

In 2017, a total of 864 civilian students registered for the MBBS programme at the South Asia Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) were integrated into KDU. Additionally, in 2022, the University Grants Commission sent 87 civilian students to KDU’s MBBS programme to resolve issues arising from changes in admission policies at national universities.

Overall, 1,337 civilian students have been admitted to the MBBS programme at KDU, with 828 students graduating between 2018 and 2023. Utilizing the opportunities at KDU’s Faculty of Medicine effectively is crucial, as failing to do so would render the financial investments, infrastructure, and human resources of the Faculty and University Hospital (UHKDU) ineffective, especially given the country’s severe shortage of medical professionals.

On April 8, 2024, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a policy allowing the admission of domestic civilian students to the MBBS programme on a fee-levying basis starting in 2024. An advertisement was published on April 19, 2024, on the University website, and on April 21, 2024, in national newspapers in Sinhala, Tamil, and English, inviting applications from candidates with local G.C.E. (Advanced Level) qualifications or equivalent foreign qualifications such as Cambridge, Edexcel, and others. This advertisement included eligibility criteria and the application deadline.

By the deadline, 956 applications were received, and the list of applicants, along with their Z-scores or foreign examination results, was published on the University website. After screening, 868 candidates were found eligible, and 242 were shortlisted by the Admissions Committee to take the Aptitude Test. Local candidates were shortlisted using the minimum Z-score (1.4059) for MBBS entry at other state universities in 2021, while candidates with foreign qualifications were shortlisted based on minimum grades of A, A, and B. This resulted in 216 local and 26 foreign candidates being eligible.

The Aptitude Test, consisting of three components—Paper 1 (MCQs on subject knowledge, IQ, and general knowledge), Paper 2 (English language), and Paper 3 (psychometric assessment)—was conducted on May 14, 2024, at the University premises. A total of 203 candidates (183 local and 20 foreign) appeared for the test. These candidates then attended a structured interview on May 20-22, 2024.

The interview panel, approved by KDU’s Board of Management, included representatives from the University Grants Commission and the Sri Lanka Medical Council as observers, in addition to internal KDU staff members. During the interview, marks were allocated as 90% for G.C.E. A/L or foreign examination results and 10% for other achievements, such as nationally recognized sports activities and proven leadership qualities.

The eligibility criteria for the MBBS programme, the composition of the Admissions Committee, the structure of the Aptitude Test, the interview panel, and the mark allocation for the final selection are all published on the University website. The details of selected candidates and the agreement conditions required at the time of registration are also available online.

This clarification demonstrates that KDU has taken every possible measure to avoid irregularities in the candidate selection process, upholding the principles of good governance, transparency, and accountability. If any candidate is found to have provided false information after selection, the University will terminate the candidate’s studentship in accordance with the agreement.

The KDU administration assures candidates, their parents, medical professionals, the university community, and the general public that the admission process for civilian students to the MBBS programme was fair, reasonable, and lawful.