Medical colleges have reportedly been asking fees four times higher than the ceiling for the postgraduate MD/MS programs.
A prospective MD student requesting anonymity said the colleges have asked for around Rs 10 million for the MD program. “If we don't have a large amount of money, we will be deprived of enrollment despite having the required merits. The colleges have openly asked us to pay the amount demanded for getting admissions,” he added. “We will follow the merit list from the next time, which will be next year,” the student quoted the medical colleges as saying.
There is an intake of more than 600 students annually for the MD/MS programs at medical colleges under Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University. Medical colleges affiliated to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) under TU enroll 170 new MD/MS students every year. Currently, IOM, which has more than 100 seats for MD students, has already administered the entrance tests while KU is yet to open the applications for MD/MS this year.
Nearly 2,400 students applied for the entrance tests administered by IOM this year alone. In the past, the individual colleges used to admit the students after the entrance tests.
IOM has already published the merit list for this year. A total of 1,925 examinees have passed the merit test with a minimum pass mark of 50. The highest achiever secured 85 marks.
Under TU, the MD/MS classes are taught at IOM, Universal College of Medical Sciences at Bhairahawa, People's Dental College at Nayabazaar in Kathmandu and National Medical College in Birgunj.
KU has fixed a fee ceiling of Rs 2.25 million for the MD/MS while TU's fee structure is Rs 2,683,460 for the same courses.
According to Nepal Medical Council (NMC), more than 6,000 MD/MS doctors are registered at the apex medical body. Many MD/MS doctorrs are practicing without registering with NMC, said NMC officials.
Dr Dilip Sharma, registrar at NMC, said that they were not the right authority to look into fee issues. “However, we are concerned with the admissions process,” he said. “We will issue directives to admit students on the basis of merit and not who pays the higher amounts in fees,” he said, adding that IOM was the responsible authority for looking into this matter.
Dr JP Agrawal, dean at IOM, said that they would develop new criteria this year. "We will set a new standard and determine the seat allotments for medical colleges through a meeting of the executive council,” said Dr Agrawal. “I will try to end anarchy in the medical colleges,” he added.
Even though no official decisions are made to charge fees higher than the ceiling, the students admitted are later forced to pay additional fees informally under different heads, said sources.
Regulating the medical education sector is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. But it is the Ministry of Health that has taken the initiative to sort out the problems, as per requests from stakeholders.
The ministry played a vital role in addressing the demands of Dr Govinda KC, in maintaining seat quotas at medical colleges, and in scrutinizing the behavior of Manipal Teaching Hospital towards the victims of a recent road accident in which at least five persons died, said sources at the ministry.
Source: Republica National daily, Author: Bishnu Prasad Aryal