Ministeries at odds over panel’s adviceThe Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education are at loggerheads over a recommendation made by a high-level National Education Commission.
The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education are at loggerheads over a recommendation made by a high-level National Education Commission.
Section 6 of the report on “Higher Education” states: “Government and private medical colleges affiliated to universities are under the Education Ministry whereas academies of health sciences are under the Health Ministry. Since there is a lack of coordination between the two
ministries, it is better to bring health academies under the Ministry of Education.”
The commission, formed under Minister of Education Giriraj Mani Pokhrel by the Cabinet on July 26 last year, was given the responsibility of suggesting steps for bringing quality changes in the overall education sector.
Officials at the Health Ministry say the report was prepared without holding consultations with them.
“It is a shame that the commission has suggested such a step to the government without consulting with us. The academies not only provide medical courses, they are also referral centres. Keeping academies under the Education Ministry for someone’s vested interest will hamper the overall service of the academies,” State Minister for Health and Population Dr Surendra Kumar Yadav told the Post.
There are six academies of health sciences across the country—BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, National Academy of Medical Sciences, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Karnali Academy of Health Sciences, Pokhara Academy of Health Sciences and Rapti Academy of Health Sciences.
Even the academies said they were unaware that commission had made such a recommendation in its report to bring them under the Education Ministry.
“Before giving suggestions about an academy, which is an autonomous organisation, discussions with concerned authorities should be held. We were never invited for any
discussions,” Dr Raj Kumar Rauniyar, Vice-chancellor of BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS), told the Post.
“We could have come up with more suggestions to upgrade academies if we had been invited for discussion,” said Rauniyar. “The government should take the decision of transferring us to a different ministry only after proper discussions with all the authorities concerned.”
Officials at the ministry declined to comment on the matter, saying the report had been sent to the prime minister.
The report is yet to be made public though.
“The report is yet to be made public so we cannot comment on its contents. The ministry will make every point clear once the report is made public,” Baikuntha Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for the Education Ministry, told the Post. Aryal was the member secretary of the high-level commission.
However, the academies can be taken under the Education Ministry if they are upgraded as universities.
The Gauri Bahadur Karki-led committee had also suggested that academies such as BPKIHS can be upgraded as provincial universities and can grant affiliation to a maximum of three medical colleges within its province.
Meanwhile, BPKIHS had requested Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who is also the chancellor of the institute, to upgrade them as a university more than two months ago.
On the other hand, says an official at the Health Ministry, the National Academy of Medical Sciences has also requested to upgrade it as a university.
“We should not be governed by any higher bodies directly. A ministry should be there to facilitate us. Bringing politics in the academies would ruin the quality of education and services,” said Rauniyar.