Council instructs varsities to stop medical colleges from ‘fleecing’ students

2019-03-15

The Kathmandu Post

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- Arjun Poudel-KATHMANDU, The Nepal Medical Council has written to the Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University, asking them to stop their affiliated colleges from “fleecing” students.

The council’s move follows scores of complaints lodged against various medical colleges under the two universities for charging more fee than what is stipulated by the government. According to the government policy, medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley can charge up to Rs 3.8 million and those outside the Valley Rs 4.2 million for the MBBS programme. 

Scores of students had filed complaints at the council as well as the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority regarding the exorbitant fee charged by medical colleges. The anti-graft agency had forwarded the complaints it had received to the council, saying the issue was not under its jurisdiction. 

Nepal Medical Council Chairman Dr Dharmakanta Baskota said that he had written to the Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University office bearers a week earlier asking them to take prompt measures to stop colleges from fleecing students.

“I have asked the universities’ office bearers to clarify whether the additional fee being charged by private medical colleges is legal or not,” Baskota told the Post. He said that the respective universities could stop their affiliated colleges from charging additional amount from the students.

“Unless the universities take a clear stand on these issues, private colleges will continue fleecing money from students,” said Baskota. Complaints lodged at the council against private medical colleges state that these colleges are compelling students to pay hostel charges, even for day scholars, pay travel fare even if the students do not use college transportation, pay internship charges, library fee and community visit fee which are already included in the total package, and charging extra in the name of council and TU registration fee.

While the registration fee at the TU is Rs 500 and the council charges Rs 3,000 for the same, some medical colleges have been found charging Rs 45,000 under these titles, Baskota said. According to complaints filed at the council, those colleges compel students to use their hostels, canteen and transportation services. As per the council, there are no obligations for students to use facilities provided by the colleges except at the Institute of Medicine. 

Some students pursuing medicine degree at Gandaki Medical College filed a forgery case against the college administration at District Police Office Kaski last week, stating that the college charged them more than the government-fixed fee. They alleged that the college had collected more than Rs 1.25 million in extra charges from them. Academic activities at the college have been halted for about six weeks due to protests by the students.

The council has also forwarded to the Education Ministry and the CIAA copies of its letter written to the universities. Bishnu Mishra, deputy spokesperson for the Education Ministry, said, “We have taken initiatives to direct the universities to follow the council’s instructions.” 

Meanwhile, the KU said that it was looking at complaints filed by individual students. “Last week we directed Kantipur Dental College to refund the additional amount it had charged, to one student,” said Deepak Dahal, administrator at the KU’s medicine faculty. He assured that the university would take action if students lodge complaints about extra charges with proofs.