Government issues one directive after another to medical colleges to refund additional fees, but has taken no action as yetStudents from different medical colleges in Capital to pressurise the government and their colleges for increased fee refunds.
Following protests from medical students, Minister for Education Giriraj Mani Pokharel on March 21 directed all medical colleges to refund the extra fees they had charged their students.
The agitating students withdrew their protest after the minister’s directive. But after the concerned medical colleges did not oblige to the minister’s directive, the students at Gandaki Medical College and Chitwan Medical College launched another round of protests.
A month into the protests, Minister Pokharel held a meeting with Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa and other officials on September 23 to address the students’ grievances.
The meeting authorised concerned local administrations to take action against the colleges if they didn’t refund their students’ money within a month.
The payment deadline ended two weeks ago and none of the colleges has returned the students’ money.
The medical students have once again resorted to protests and this time the students of National Medical College and Universal Medical College have also joined in.
Around 200 MBBS students from different medical colleges are currently in the Capital to draw the government’s attention to their demand. They are angry at the government authorities for failing to take action against their colleges.
“Only when we are protesting the government is sympathetic to our concern. The truth is it never takes any action to address our demand,” said Anit Sinha, a third-year student from Gandaki Medical College, told the Post.
Meanwhile, officials at the Education Ministry said that they have written to the Ministry of Home Affairs, asking the latter to initiate action against the concerned medical colleges for failing to refund the students’ money.
The government in October last year had set the fee for MBBS courses at Rs3.8 million for private colleges inside the Kathmandu Valley and at Rs4.24 million for colleges outside the Valley.
However, many colleges have been charging students up to Rs 6 million.
“If the medical colleges still fail to refund, the students can file complaints at the district administration offices,” Deepal Sharma, chief of the Technical Education Division at the Education Ministry, told the Post.
The agitating students at Gandaki Medical College and Chitwan Medical College have already filed complaints at their respective local administration office but to no avail.
“We have been deceived by both the government and our college,” said Maanesha Thapa, a student of Chitwan Medical College.
Various research works, including a recent study by a sub-committee under the parliamentary Education Committee, show that Nepal Medical College, Universal Medical College, KIST Medical College, College of Medical Science, Nobel Medical College, Devdaha Medical College and the National Medical College, too, have been charging exorbitant fees to their students.
The medical college owners, who are close to various political parties, have threatened not to enrol students if they are forced to implement the fee ceiling.
The ongoing protests over fees have led to the postponement of the MBBS first year exams in colleges affiliated to the Tribhuvan University.
The exams, which were to begin from Wednesday, have been deferred indefinitely.
The MBBS second year exams which are set to kick off from the end of this month, too, seem uncertain at the current situation.
“Our crucial time has gone to waste due to the incompetence of the government to implement its own decision,” Sinha, the student of Gandaki Medical College, told the Post.