Kathmandu Valley will not see new medical, dental and nursing colleges for the next 10 years if a current draft of a new Act of an umbrella body to oversee the entire health profession education, including medicine, is endorsed by Parliament.
The final draft of the Act to guide the Health Profession Education Commission (HPEC), an overarching framework to regulate medical education, has formulated stringent provisions for opening new medical colleges, including a moratorium on establishing medical schools.
New medical colleges outside Kathmandu Valley should be established in areas deemed appropriate by the government. Hence, the selection of the district will be based on the government decision. The colleges should furnish a blueprint of the possible infrastructure. Also, principle consent on the affiliation should be taken from concerned universities, and the hospitals of the medical colleges should be registered with the Ministry of Health.
All these findings were shared amidst a programme at the Ministry of Education on Friday among stakeholders of medical universities and academies and councils.
Some of the participants questioned the jurisdiction of executive vice-chairman on appointment of directors and centralised power on decision-making. “Since the government has mandated the HPEC to submit the Act in three months after its formation, we are planning to submit it on April 22,” said Dr Bhagwan Koriala, vice-chairman of the HPEC.
“We are still collecting inputs,” he said without comment on the contents of the draft Act. Sources said the Act drafting team is likely to finalise it by Tuesday.
Furthermore, the Act has envisioned a National Common Entrance Examination that should be conducted for students willing to pursue graduate and postgraduate medical education.
Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu University, Patan Academy of Health Sciences and BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences have been conducting separate entrance tests for MBBS and BDS (dentistry) courses.
A provision in the draft Act states that foreigners should also attend the common entrance examination. If they skip the test, they will be eligible to get admission in Nepal only if they have passed an examination certified by the HPEC in their respective countries.
The new draft Act has also curtailed rights of some of the councils, including Nepal Medical Council, Nursing Council and Pharmacy Council. Once the Act is endorsed, the councils will not have accreditation rights.
It has also envisioned five directorates--Accreditation and Standard; Planning and Coordination; Innovation and Research; Examination; and Post Graduate Education Board--that will be chaired by directors appointed by the vice-chairperson.
The formation of HPEC was first envisioned by a commission led by Kedar Bhakta Mathema, former vice-chancellor of TU, which drafted the Health Profession Education Policy. And provisions including the moratorium on establishing new medical colleges were also part of the policy.
Source: This article was initially published in The Kathmandu Post on 10th April, 2016.