MPs preparing to rush through HPE Bill

  • If passed in present form, it will directly benefit a handful of institutions
- Post Report, Kathmandu
Lawmakers plan to put the Health Profession Education Bill to a vote in Parliament on Monday

Sep 23, 2017-After rushing through the controversial Education Act-1972 (Ninth Amendment) Bill, parliamentarians are now preparing to endorse the Health Profession Education (HPE) Bill keeping some provisions that directly benefit a handful of health institutions intact.

The HPE Bill, which is in Parliament after the Committee on Women, Children, Social Welfare and Elderly Citizens endorsed it on August 10, is most likely to be put to a vote on Monday.

Some provisions of the bill go against the demands of Dr Govinda KC, who has long been calling for putting a moratorium on establishing new medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley for the next 10 years. 

Cross-party parliamentarians who have conveniently absented themselves from House meetings in the past on many an occasion when issues of public importance were debated worked till late night on Tuesday to endorse the ninth amendment to the Education Act, much to the chagrin of education experts who have criticised the move saying it will have a detrimental effect on the country’s public education sector.

The amendment has cleared the decks for announcing internal vacancies for temporary teachers who were drafted in before August 6, 2004. These temporary teachers now will be eligible to get the permanent status if they secure just the pass marks of 40. Similarly, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC)’s vacancy will allocate 75 percent reservation for the temporary teachers recruited between August 6, 2004 

and July 29, 2016. The rest will be hired through open competition.

Education experts as well as cross-party lawmakers, whose number was too few to block the bill, had long been objecting to the amendment, saying this would deprive fresh candidates from teaching profession and push the country’s public education sector at least 25 years behind. 

Despite widespread concerns, parliamentarians, whose term will expire on October 21, are now trying to push the HPE bill with such provisions that will benefit some medical institutions which are promoted by members of some parties. 

Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS), B&C Hospital, Nepal Police Medical College, People’s Dental College and Aswhini Medical College are some of the institutions that will directly benefit if the HPE Bill with current provisions is endorsed. The MMIHS is promoted by UML lawmakers while B&C Hospital has the CPN (Maoist Centre)’s backing. These colleges have already obtained the letters of intent.

Dr KC, who ended his 11th hunger strike on August 22 after 23 days, has been objecting to the provision of “granting affiliation to those medical colleges that have already built the infrastructure”, has been demanding major reforms in the medical education sector so as to ensure basic healthcare services to every citizen at an affordable cost. But lawmakers in the House committee that has endorsed the HPE Bill are one on passing the bill from the House. “The bill will be endorsed by Parliament before Dashain,” said UML lawmaker Ganesh Man Gurung. NC lawmaker Jeevan Pariyar said institutions that have already made huge investments should not be barred from getting affiliation. 

Published: 23-09-2017 06:59

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