IoM asked to furnish detail ‘autonomy plan’

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Sep 7, 2014-

The Tribhuvan University (TU) on Sunday asked Institute of Medicine (IoM) to come up with a detail “autonomy plan” by November, paving way for the TU’s medicine department to function autonomously.

During a Senate meeting of TU, Vice-Chancellor Hira Bahadur Maharjan directed IoM to furnish detailed plans for greater autonomy by Mid-November. The plan of the autonomy will be subject to approval by TU’s next Senate meeting in December.

Following the direction from Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to TU office bearers to come up with a report exploring the possibilities of IoM autonomy, VC Maharjan said they will seek the autonomy proposal from IoM, hold discussion over it and get it endorsed by the Senate.  

An expert committee formed to determine whether the country needs a separate medical university, as demanded by Dr Govinda KC of TU Teaching Hospital (TUTH), had given its green signal for the establishment of such a university and also recommended autonomy to IoM. The committee has recommended that IoM has to be given maximum autonomy on resource mobilisation so that it would be able to function on its own or IoM itself could be converted into a separate medical university.

Dr KC, however, said TU’s decision to call for detail proposal is to allay the pressure from PM Koirala.

“TU will linger the whole process even if we meet our deadlines. They have done so many times in the past,” said Dr KC.

However, TU officials have made it clear that they will not allow IoM to convert into a separate medical university.

The debate of whether it is appropriate to grant greater autonomy to IoM had surfaced after Dr KC staged hunger-strike for three times demanding the same.

Dr Rakesh Shriwastav, dean of IoM, said they are doing their best to come up with a detail proposal for IoM autonomy within the November deadline. He said a detailed outline of financial, administrative and academic functioning will be drawn. “We will soon form a task force to come up with a detail autonomy plan to be presented to the VC office,” said Dr Shriwastav.

Dr Bimal Sinha, assistant dean of IoM, said they have not sought total autonomy for IoM like many other colleges under the TU umbrella because the medicine department cannot handle the budget pressure and the administrative hassles. “We are not trying to be a separate entity. We want to function under TU, but it has to follow its decentralised rule and provide full autonomy to IoM in terms of finance and administration,” said Dr Sinha.  

The TU and IoM have always been locking horns over granting affiliation to new private medical colleges. After IoM denied granting affiliation to new colleges, TU had stopped promotion of its faculties while budget release was also delayed unnecessarily.

“Many times TU has bargained with IoM for its own benefit and it is also really hard to work with the university officials sometimes,” said Dr Sinha. “TU has not been releasing enough budgets also to allow smooth functioning of IoM.”

However, many experts warn of ‘some repercussions’ if IoM is granted full autonomy.

“There are strong chances of tremendous fee hike in medical education. Since the institute has to sustain on its own after gaining full autonomy, healthcare costs at Teaching Hospital may also witness a sharp increase,” said a doctor at IoM requesting anonymity.

Published: 08-09-2014 09:09

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