Dr Sashi Sharma has been appointed the dean of Institute of Medicine (IoM), a month after his precursor, Dr Prakash Sayami, resigned amid a bitter dispute over granting affiliation to new medical colleges.
The Tribhuvan University (TU) executive council accepted the resignation of Dr Sayami and appointed Dr Sharma, former vice-president of Nepal Medical Council, to the position on Thursday.
TU Registrar Chandra Mani Poudel confirmed the appointment of Dr Sharma, who will assume his office from Sunday.
The appointment of Dr Sharma comes at a time when pressure is mounting on IoM to grant affiliation to new medical colleges.
Dr Sayami tendered his resignation on December 4, unyielding to the demand of the TU that the IoM gave the varsity’s accreditation to new medical colleges.
Dr Sharma has said as a new IoM dean he would try to find an amicable solution to the ongoing dispute. “I’ve the support of TU members on the matter. The right to grant affiliation lies in the hands of the faculty board members,” he said.
The affiliation row between the TU and the IoM came to the fore after the university on 26 September 2013 published a notice calling for applications for affiliation from colleges that have taken the consent letter from the Ministry of Education.
The TU move was strongly objected by the IoM, arguing that new affiliations could not be granted at a time when the institute is struggling to manage and monitor the existing medical colleges.
The TU had inspected some private medical colleges with a view to grant them affiliations, but the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority intercepted the process, saying that it was the IoM’s job.
The TU Vice-chancellor’s Office had appointed Dr Sayami the dean on 17 August 2012, ending its age old tradition of political appointments in major positions in the IoM. Dr Govinda KC, senior orthopedic at the TU Teaching Hospital, had played an instrumental role in the process.
Through his fast-unto-death protests, Dr KC had compelled the TU to appoint IoM officials based on seniority and competence.
Dr KC has deemed Dr Sharma’s appointment a ‘dismal regression’ of the
IoM perpetrated by medical college owners seeking TU-affiliation in collusion with politicians.
“I am against this appointment. I will stage another fast-unto-death to bring Dr Sayami back to save IoM,” said Dr KC.