Fee ceiliing in controversy

2014-04-05

Himalayan News Service

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KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Finance (MoF) today told the Ministry of Education (MoE) that fixing fee ceilings for private medical and nursing colleges is not in keeping with the norms of the World Trade Organisation of which Nepal is a member, leaving the education ministry dissatisfied. The MoF reply came in response to the MoE’s call for suggestions on reports concerning fee structures of the medical colleges and Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training-affiliated nursing colleges.

In response to the MoF’s take, an MoE under-secretary said on condition of anonymity, “The nation’s entry into the WTO does not mean that the government should not make arrangements for educating the poor.”

He said, “As the guardian of all Nepalis, the government has to cater to both kinds of citizens: The one who can afford an education and the other who are too poor to afford an education.”

Though dissatisfied with the finance ministry’s reply, we will publish the reports soon, the official said. The government has sent the report concerning the medical colleges to the Cabinet committee concerned and will send the nursing colleges’ report to the same panel in a few days for presenting it at the next cabinet meeting.

It should be noted that student unions ANNISU-R and ANNFSU have been staging protests to make the government publish the reports on the fee structures of medical and nursing colleges. In the wake of protests, the government formed a 10-member committee under the coordination of Devendra Poudel, political adviser to PM Baburam Bhattarai, to look into the issues and address them within this week.

The then government had formed separate panels after ANNISU-R and other student unions launched a protest demanding a committee for fixing fees to prevent nursing and medical colleges from imposing exorbitant fees. A panel under Joint-secretary Khagaraj Baral had prepared the report on nursing education, while National Planning Commission member Shiva Kumar Rai had prepared the report on medical colleges a few months ago.

The report on nursing colleges has proposed collecting Rs 3.96 lakh from each student enrolled at a three-year Bachelor of Nursing programme, while another report has recommended collecting Rs 31 lakh from each student enrolled pursuing the four-year MBBS programme.

(Source: The Himalayantimes)