Private medical colleges admit to charging extra fees to their studentsCollege operators tell House sub-committee that government-set fee structure is unfeasible
Private medical colleges admitted to charging extra fees to their students, saying that the fee structure set by the government was not enough to run the colleges, at a meeting with the education and health sub-committee of Parliament on Wednesday.
The sub-committee formed had called the meeting following a number of complaints against private medical colleges who have been charging exorbitant fees to their students. The sub-committee, formed in the wake of the student protest in Gandaki Medical College, had asked medical students across the country to file complaints if their colleges were charging them extra fees.
According to the sub-committee, it received around 70 complaints against various medical colleges.
During Wednesday’s meeting, medical college representatives conceded that they were charging extra fees to their students, but blamed the government’s fee structure behind their action.
On 2017, the government had fixed Rs3.85 million for MBBS programmes inside Kathmandu Valley and Rs4.24 million outside the Valley. Despite the fee ceiling, colleges have been charging extra fees. The students of Gandaki Medical College have accused the college administration of charging up to Rs 1.75 million above the government set fee structure.
“We have been protesting against the government’s fee ceiling from the beginning because it was not set by studying the investment and expenditure of private medical colleges,” Dr Suresh Kumar Kanodia, managing director of Nepalgunj Medical College, told the Post. “We are totally incapable of running our colleges under the government fee structure.”
The representatives of private medical college affiliated with the Kathmandu University also claimed that they had been following the fee structure set by the university.
“We follow the fee ceiling set by the Kathmandu University which is more than what has been set by the government,” said Kanodia.
According to him, Nepalgunj Medical College was charging a fee up to Rs 4.7 million.
However, Dr Dipak Shrestha, associate dean for affiliated programmes of the Kathmandu University, said that the university had instructed all its affiliated colleges to follow the government set fee structure.
“We have informed all the colleges under us to charge only the fee ceiling set by the government,” he told the Post.
Private medical colleges have demanded the government to revise the fee structure by adjusting it with inflation. Last year, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology had held discussion with the concerned authorities to hike the medical tuition fee by 10 per cent to adjust it with inflation. But the proposal never realised.
“The government should revise the fee by breaking down the expenditure of private medical colleges,” said Kanodia, who is also a former president of Association of Private Medical and Dental College of Nepal.
However, the sub-committee has said that the college are not allowed to charge any extra fee from the students and that they will submit a report to the committee soon.
“We will submit a report to the committee regarding the fee structures being followed by the medical colleges along with their reasons of charging extra fee. It is the government which will decide what action to be taken,” Lawmaker Khaga Raj Adhikari, a member of the sub-committee, told the Post.