Execution delay raises doubts over intent

  • recommendations on medical education
- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu
Execution delay raises doubts over intent

Nov 8, 2014-

The Ministry of Education has failed to implement the recommendations of expert committees on the formation of medical university and national policy on medical education months after submission of the report.

Two panels of experts were set up following the fast-unto-death of Dr Govinda KC of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) in February to study the necessity of medical university in the country and draft the medical education policy along with medical college affiliation frameworks.

One of the committees led by Dr Ramesh Kanta Adhikari, former dean of IoM had argued, pointed out in its report the need to establish such university. It said a separate medical university will grant affiliation to new medical colleges awaiting affiliations, adding that all new colleges should be allowed to function under that university. The nine-member committee included Dr Arjun Karki, former Vice Chancellor of Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Dr Jagdish Agrawal of TUTH, Dr Baburam Marasini of the Ministry of Health and Population, Dr Anjani Kumar Jha, President of Nepal Medical Association and Mahashram Sharma, joint secretary of Ministry of Education.

The report has also asked the government to waive taxes and ease loan procedures for people willing to establish medical colleges in rural areas thereby bridging the gap in access to health services regardless of the geographical locations.

The other committee formed under Jayaram Giri, the former education secretary, to study the medical studies standards in the country had asked the government to reinforce TU and KU that provide affiliation to medical colleges and establish a “National Medical Board” that would monitor the medical entrance tests in the country.

The formation of this national accreditation board will oversee the MBBS and dentistry entrance examinations. At present TU, KU, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, and BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences are running independent entrance exams for MBBS and Bachelor in Dentistry courses.

“The suggestions of the committees could regulate the medical education and affiliation row,” said Dr Agrawal of TUTH. “The delay in implementation will exacerbate the current crisis facing the medical education.”

The committee members argue that separate entrance tests conducted by different universities and medical institutions are putting undue pressure on the students, promoting unhealthy competition among medical colleges. The students could take a test conducted by the proposed medical board and choose colleges on merit basis, while the colleges determine the number of seats and scholarship programmes, the committee said in its report.

The committee has also recommended for a mandatory examination for students planning to go abroad for medical studies. Although both the reports were submitted in June, the ministry has yet to implement the suggestions.

Former education secretary Giri said the ministry has not taken the report seriously, claiming that the formation of committees was just a ploy to temporarily fend off TUTH problem.

“There is no reason to delay in formulating national policy. Its ridicules,” he told the Post.

Published: 09-11-2014 09:06

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