Medical college owners have finally agreed to refund or adjust the additional fee they charged studentsThe decision comes at the last hour after the government threatened to arrest operators of medical colleges.
Following the government’s threat to arrest them, medical college owners have finally given a written commitment to return or adjust the additional fee they charged students.
The government on Monday had directed Nepal Police to arrest college operators if students don’t receive their money back by Tuesday. The college operators, though tried their best to not commit for the refund, later agreed to return the fees they had charged by breaching the government’s ceiling, as the Ministry of Education remained firm on initiating the administrative actions.
Representatives of private medical colleges forged a two-point agreement with the government at midnight on Tuesday, agreeing to abide by the government ceiling and refund or adjust the additional fee they charged for arbitrary reasons.
“We are committed to following the fee structure determined by the government,” the agreement reads. “The medical colleges that had charged more than the government’s ceiling will start the refunding or adjusting the fee from tomorrow (Wednesday).”
On September 23, the Ministry of Home Affairs had given a month’s deadline for the medical colleges to either refund or adjust the extra fees charged to students in the MBBS and BDS programs. When college operators did not heed to the directive, the ministry on November 11 issued a 15-day ultimatum to disburse the refunds. When the ultimatum expired on Sunday without any response from the college operators, Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel called a meeting of concerned parties on Monday to find a solution.
The government in October last year set the fees for MBBS courses at Rs3.8 million for private colleges in Kathmandu Valley and Rs 4.24 million for those outside the Valley. However, various reports suggest colleges have been charging up to Rs6 million.
On November 10, the National Vigilance Centre, an anti-graft body under the Prime Minister’s Office, said in a report that numerous medical colleges across the country had collected over Rs3 billion in additional fees from students for arbitrary reasons.
Government and parliamentary committees had also concluded that medical colleges have been fleecing their students.