IoM: No new affiliations

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Nov 11, 2014-

The Institute of Medicine (IoM) on Tuesday decided to stop affiliations to new medical colleges after its faculty board meeting voted against the process. The board, the highest authority for academic activities at the IoM, had tabled the agenda of affiliation before its members.

But that possibility vanished after a directive from the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) on Tuesday to formulate a national policy on medical education and then grant affiliation based on its provisions.  

The National Medical College of Ghattekulo, Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences and People’s Dental College have been waiting for the IoM nod to run its MBBS programme and Bachelor’s programme in dentistry.

Manmohan has a significant investment from leaders of CPN-UML, with lawmaker Rajendra Pandey as the chairman of the hospital. Similarly, National Medical College is an extension of Birgunj-based National Medical College promoted by UCPN-Maoist aide Basaruddhin Ansari. The National had even sought an interim order from the Supreme Court that had directed the TU to end the affiliation row soon. Manmohan had piled pressure on the TU through the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority.

Only a majority decision from the 32-member faculty board can endorse affiliation.

Dr Sarad Onta, assistant dean of IoM, said the affiliation will not begin without the formation of the medical education policy as directed by the PM’s office.     

According to doctors present at the meeting, questions were raised over the intent of the incumbent dean Dr Rakesh Shriwastav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. “The letter from PM’s office directing IoM not to grant affiliation to colleges contradicts the Supreme Court’s order.

We raised questions if PM has the authority to challenge the court’s directive,” said Dr Ratindra Shrestha, a board member. He said at a time when the dean has been publicly stating that they will not grant affiliation, summoning the board meeting with affiliation as the main agenda showed ill-intention from their side.

The letter of the OPMC has also asked Kathmandu University to put on hold affiliation to Birat Medical College and Devdaha Medical College.

The college awaiting affiliation will not be able to run classes for this session if the present deadlock does not end by November 17. At worst, these colleges will be granted an additional 35 days to enroll students.

Reacting to the decision, Chairman of Manmohan Memorial Pandey said the government is trying to weaken the internal investment. “Having received a letter of intent from the Ministry of Education, we have completed the required infrastructure. The TU last year said that we meet all the requirements,” said he said. “Now the government itself has been stopping the affiliation process. We will be forced to take to the streets if this tendency continues.”

Published: 12-11-2014 09:22

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