Editorial

Show some spine

  • Strong stand must be taken against political corruption in med education

Mar 30, 2015-

If there is one thing that Dr Govinda KC’s hunger strike has done so far, it has exposed the venality and corruption of Nepal’s political parties. The two major parties in the governing coalition now stand exposed and indicted. The disgrace of the CPN-UML has been particularly evident in this affair. With its credentials as a party of the left in question, it is evident that some UML leaders have become concerned only with the accumulation of money, through fair or foul means. They represent the powerful and unscrupulous sections of society that are bent on flouting laws to maximise their proceeds. Some senior leaders are known to provide patronage and protection to criminals; they take a cut from the profits gangsters accrue from extortion rackets or are simply happy to use them for political gain.

Now it has become clear that the UML is seeking especially to profit from once again flouting the law, this time in the medical education sector. Even though the government, reacting to sustained pressure during Dr KC’s last hunger strike, had decided to stop the granting of affiliations to medical colleges before a proper policy was institutionalised. The policy in question is currently being worked on by a special committee led by educator Kedar Bhakta Mathema. Nevertheless, the UML pressed the Nepali Congress (NC), and its President Sushil Koirala, to provide affiliations to a number of medical colleges into which party leaders and their cronies have invested heavily. These colleges, like many others in the country, are money-making machines that charge up to Rs 5.5 million for a degree. It is clear that the chief purpose of these colleges is to extract exorbitant sums of money from the families of young people keen to become doctors. It is also clear that these colleges lack the infrastructure and faculty to provide even a halfway decent medical education.

The NC has not acquitted itself very well in this affair either. Prime Minister Koirala has displayed himself to be weak and cowardly in his inability to stand up to the UML’s unfair demands. The fact that the NC has remained behind the demands of the UML, even as such a major outcry has emerged, is surprising. It seems to indicate that the NC too has vested interests in providing affiliations to medical colleges of very poor quality. Koirala, who was once regarded as a paragon of probity, has now started to become tainted with the sordid touch of corruption. It is clear that in its frenzied greed, the ruling parties are blind to Dr KC’s call of conscience. The need of the hour is for the NC to take a strong stance against corruption in the medical sector, cancel the decision to provide affiliations to shoddy politically-linked colleges, and begin the process of addressing the other demands that Dr KC has raised.

Published: 30-03-2015 07:26

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