Health Profession Education Bill tabled in Parliament

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- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu
We urge Parliament to endorse the Bill at the earliest so that the HPEC can start its work

Sep 15, 2016-The government tabled the Health Profession Education Bill in Parliament on Wednesday, a day after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal instructed the Ministry of Education to halt the affiliation process of medical schools as part of his commitment to reforms in the medical education sector. 

The much-talked about Bill proposes formation of a powerful Health Profession Education Commission (HPEC) to regulate all academic activities of health education through a single entity. It also proposes a 10-year moratorium on establishing new medical, dental and nursing colleges in Kathmandu Valley.

The experts who were involved in drafting of the Bill on Wednesday welcomed the government move. 

“We urge Parliament to endorse the Bill at the earliest so that the HPEC can start its work,” said Dr Bhagwan Koirala, former vice-chairman of the HPEC, who led the committee that drafted the Bill. Lawmakers can register proposals seeking amendments to the Bill before Parliament starts deliberations on it. If there are too many amendment proposals, the Bill will be forwarded to the concerned parliamentary committee before it is deliberated and endorsed by the House.

The Bill, however, has been contested by some medical college operators as well as lawmakers. On Wednesday, Prem Suwal of Nepal Majdur Kishan Party said that the provision to put a moratorium on establishing medical schools in the Valley “is ridiculous”. 

“We agree that private medical colleges should not be opened [in the Valley]. However, government medical colleges should be established because of the population size and number of students who want to pursue the course,” said Suwal. As per the draft Bill, the HPEC will have the authority to decide on opening of new medical colleges outside Kathmandu Valley in areas deemed appropriate by the government. 

PM Dahal’s commitment to bring about reforms in the medical education sector has come amid Dr Govinda KC’s warning that he would launch another round of hunger strike “if the government fails to address his demands”. 

Dr KC called off his eighth hunger strike after 16 days on July 25 after the government agreed to address some of his demands. But he warned on Saturday that he would again stage fast-unto-death if his demands are not addressed by September 18. 

Earlier, during a meeting with Dr KC in Baluwatar, PM Dahal had pledged to take initiatives to address his demands. 

Dr KC has long been demanding that the government table the Bill in the House. 

Endorsement of the Bill could address most of the demands raised by Dr KC, who has been for the last several years consistently demanding immediate reforms in medical education.

 

The provisions 

-     Formation of powerful Health Profession Education Commission to regulate all 

the academic activities of health education through a single entity

-     A 10-year moratorium on opening of new medical, dental and nursing colleges in Kathmandu Valley

-     Authorises the HPEC to decide on opening of new medical colleges outside Kathmandu Valley 

-     Foreigners will get admission in medical colleges in Nepal only after they pass a common entrance exam or an exam certified by the HPEC

-     Government-run medical colleges should compulsorily allocate 50 percent  scholarship seats

Published: 15-09-2016 08:10

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