National accreditation board proposed to oversee MBBS and BDS entrance examinations

2015-01-07

Ekantipur

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A government committee formed to advise national standards for medical colleges has recommended forming a national accreditation board to oversee the MBBS and dentistry entrance examinations.  

At a time when Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu University, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, and BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences are running independent entrance exams for MBBS and Bachelor of Dentist Science (BDS) courses, the committee has proposed for a national medical board with the mandate to conduct the entrance tests.

Separate entrance tests conducted by different universities and medical institutions are causing unwanted pressure on the students, and promoting unhealthy competition among medical colleges, the committee members have said.

In its report presented to the Ministry of Education last week, the committee has said that the students could take a test conducted by the proposed medical board and choose colleges on merit basis, while the colleges determine the number of seats and scholarship programmes. The committee has also recommended for mandatory examination for students planning to go abroad for medical studies.

Dr Damodar Gajurel, chairman of Nepal Medical Council, said the recommendation, if implemented, will help harmonise the MBBS entrance examinations and also minimise the malpractices surrounding the entrance tests.

Under the existing practices, students can be enrolled in colleges affiliated to the TU only after passing its entrance examination, while those wishing to study in institutions affiliated to KU have to attend a separate entrance test. Currently, there are 21 colleges offering MBBS and BDS courses in the country.

Dr Jagdish Agrawal, a medical educationist and member of the committee, said that separate examinations held by various universities have given space for various medical colleges to admit students often based on their sound financial footing instead of their test scores. “This proposal will help set a merit-based admission system in colleges,” he said.

The committee under Jayaram Giri, the former health secretary, was formed by the Cabinet in the first week of February following the fast-unto-death protest of Dr Govinda KC of the TU Teaching Hospital, demanding for an end to political interference in the TU Institute of Medicine (IoM), stopping the affiliation process, and a separate body to appoint IoM dean.

Source: The Kathmandu Post, 10th June 2014