Go-ahead for Medical Education Bill likely today

2018-12-26

Republica National Daily


Dec 26: After Dr Govinda KC refused to compromise on his demands for reform in medical education, the subcommittee formed by the Education and Health Committee in parliament is likely to forward a Health Education Bill on Wednesday that is in line with the demands raised by him.

The parliamentary subcommittee had earlier assigned lawmaker Gagan Thapa of Nepali Congress and another lawmaker, Yogesh Kumar Bhattarai of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, to hold talks with Dr KC on two contentious issues.

Phasing out intermediate levels under the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) and opening medical colleges outside  Kathmandu Valley through alternative affiliation were still under discussion at the parliamentary committee, according to Thapa.

In an agreement reached with Dr KC to end his last fast-unto-death some five months ago, the government had agreed to phase out the intermediate level programs under  CTEVT as demanded by him.

“When we talked to Dr KC requesting him to show flexibility on the issue, he said he would not accept anything less than what was in the agreement signed with him,” said Thapa. “The committee meeting is being held tomorrow (Wednesday). All members of the committee are positive toward forwarding a bill addressing all his demands,” he said. 

However,  according to him, the lawmakers have tried to seek a kind of way out for opening medical colleges outside Kathmandu Valley and phasing out CTEVT certificate level programs through bachelor’s level human resources development under CTEVT colleges.

According to Thapa, phasing out the junior wing wasn’t a big challenge as CTEVT would take charge through the production of upper-level human resources. “Regarding opening medical colleges outside the Valley, either the government can open medical colleges or private affiliation can be issued by Purbanchal University as Tribhuvan and Kathmandu universities have already issued their full quota of affiliations,” said Thapa.

A nine-point agreement signed by the government with Dr KC on July 26 on the 27th day of his 15th fast-unto-death includes the formation of a high-level commission and formulation of a Medical Education Act addressing all the demands raised by him. 

The agreement includes phasing out CTEVT intermediate level programs,  producing Bachelor’s level workers to uplift the standard of health professionals and bringing all health programs including CTEVT within the new law and under a high-level commission.

The government, however, has yet to address his major demands. These include the formulation of a Medical Education Act and taking action against 43 officials as recommended by  Gauri Bahadur Karki for their involvement in irregularities while issuing affiliation to private medical colleges.

The Medical Education Ordinance provisions 75 percent scholarships in government medical colleges, restriction on the issuing of affiliations to medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley for 10 years, restricting one  university to issuing affiliation to only five medical colleges, three years of hospital operation before affiliation is given to medical colleges and opening at least one government medical college in each of the seven provinces.

At the 15th hunger strike, Dr KC presented seven demands including bringing a Medical Education Act without any special changes, immediate starting of MBBS classes at the Karnali Academy of Health Sciences and revoking of the ban on staging protests at Maitighar.

Similarly, other demands are the implementation of the report prepared by the official standards determination committee, compulsory service of two years for MD scholarship students, and free MD classes in all private medical colleges.