Stop the rot

  • Disregard of the merit list is but an example of malpractices in medical education sector

Jun 30, 2017-

Studying to become a doctor requires a huge investment of time and money. It is expected that the responsible authorities accord this study the gravity it deserves. The Tribhuvan University, after facing intense criticism from all quarters, finally set fixed fees this month for its MD/MS programmes at Rs3,099,396. And the Supreme Court recently issued an interim order that postgraduate medical programme admissions should be based on merit and open counselling as prescribed by the Institute of Medicine (IoM). 

The TU has repeatedly been called out for being remiss in its duties, and its continuing laxity has been made evident by the controversies surrounding the recent decision. Prior to setting the fees at Rs3.1 million, affiliated medical colleges were charging students exorbitant fees amounting to as much as Rs10 million. They were also denying admission to students who were on the IoM’s merit list.

The list of admitted students in the National Medical College, Birgunj and the Universal Medical College, Bhairahawa shows that the colleges took in students with scores as low as 50, while those securing over 70 were rejected. There are allegations that students with lower marks were offered admission because they offered to pay amounts much larger than the fee set by the TU. 

The colleges maintain that they started their post graduate courses on May 28 (before the IoM published the merit list on June 21), and that invalidating the enrolment of their students now would be problematic. They also claim that they have been operating as per the contract signed with the TU, which entitles them to fix the admission fee, and that the contract between the TU and the colleges should be amended to address the new changes. Apparently, they knew nothing of the SC’s interim order. Whether they are feigning ignorance or were truly unaware of the interim order could be anybody’s guess. But the aspirants for the medical postgraduate programmes are bearing the brunt of this slackness. The Doctors’ Society of Nepal has warned that it would stage a series of protests if the merit system is not implemented in earnest.

All this is further testimony of how deep the rot in Nepal’s medical education system runs. Dr Govinda KC, who for the last six years has been crusading against malpractices in medical education, has warned of another hunger strike from July 15 unless serious initiatives to implement reforms in the sector are taken. The government should pay due heed to Dr KC’s demands, which will go a long way in cleansing the rot.  

Published: 30-06-2017 07:29

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