The Ministry of Education (MoE) has already awarded scholarships to over 200 students with the entrance examinations held way back in December last year. These students managed to be selected in the grueling selection process for the highly competitive examinations for courses including MBBS, B.Sc nursing and BDS. But the winners of the MBBS scholarship have not been allowed to join classes of the MBBS course in the Kathmandu University-affiliated colleges where the classes have already begun.
Usually, only the very best students are able to compete in the highly competitive entrance examinations for the scholarships. Though the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) had told the concerned universities to stop the admissions yet the affiliated colleges have already enrolled the students and the classes are running which is against the said directive leading to the students awarded the scholarship in the lurch. The whole setup lacks good coordination between the agencies concerned. The Nepal Medical Council (NMC) fixes the number of students the colleges can take in, MoE conducts the exams for the scholarship award, and the MoHP also has a pivotal role. The demarcation of the functions seems to be clear but it is not and the result is confusion as to who is in charge.
To begin with, the seats for studying medicine in Nepal are very limited and they are decided by the NMC. This year it has been alleged that the NMC had decreased the number of seats in some medical colleges while it had increased them in others. This had led the MoHP to stop admissions till the matter was sorted out but this has not been sorted out so far. And the classes have already begun from August in the Kathmandu University colleges. So the students awarded with the scholarships are venting their ire as they have not been enrolled in the reserved seats in the various colleges. They have been threatening to take such drastic action as holding protests nationwide if they are not allowed to join their colleges immediately. Their cause is genuine and the hard-won scholarships cannot be allowed to go waste, as this would be a loss for the nation too. Clearly, it is a case of the concerned agencies passing the buck and sitting on the matter.
The NMC claims that it had asked the concerned ministry to go ahead with the admission process and had sent the related documents to the MoHP for the purpose of investigation. According to the NMC it had already also asked the MoE to carry out the necessary investigation. Now the issue is with the Council of Ministers to sort it out and take a final decision. But the delay in decision-making has already caused the awardees to miss weeks of classes and they even face the prospect of losing the year and so the scholarships because of the lapse of time. The cabinet must decide urgently and end the selected candidates’ uncertainty. What has happened with the selected students this year should not be allowed to happen in future. Therefore, either there must be proper coordination among the agencies concerned or everything must go through a fixed mechanism. However, for now, immediate action is the need.
Source; This editorial was published in The Himalayantimes on 7th November.