Medical commission ‘fails’ to enforce refund of excess fee to studentsProtesting students demand a probe against commission’s Chair Dr Shree Krishna Giri over an allegation that he demanded bribes.
Despite repeated assurances and agreement with students, a majority of the medical colleges are yet to refund the additional fee they charged breaching the government ceiling.
Following the students' recent protests, the Ministry of Home Affairs on September 23 had given a month for the colleges to either refund or adjust the arbitrarys fee they had charged the MBBS and BDS students. As the medical college operators did not abide by the directives within the deadline—November 11, the ministry issued a 15-day ultimatum, directing them to disburse such amounts.
As the medical college operators did not heed to the second directive, the government on November 25 asked the Nepal Police to take actions against the college operators if they continue to deny to refund the additional fee. After being warned of police actions, the college operators on November 26 signed a two-point agreement with the Ministry of Education to start the refunding process from the very next day.
The government in October 2018 had set Rs3.8 million and Rs4.24 million to study MBBS degree in the medical colleges within the Capital and outside the Valley, respectively. However, they were found to have charged as high as Rs6 million. Medical colleges charged arbitrarily from the medical students they wouldn’t admit them if they deny paying the amount demanded.
“Most of the students haven’t got their additional fee back,” Sujan Kadariya, spokesperson for the Medical Student Struggle Committee, told the Post. “The Medical Education Commission hasn’t taken any concrete steps to implement the agreement signed with the medical colleges.”
The commission, formed to oversee the medical colleges across the nation, is responsible for resolving the problems in the sector. Kadariya said they had submitted the available receipts of the fee they paid to the commission but it had not taken any decision yet.
Dr Shree Krishna Giri, the vice-chair of the commission, said they are still studying and will take some time to conclude.
Different reports, including the one prepared by the National Vigilance Centre, an anti-graft body under the Prime Minister’s Office, have found the medical colleges to have breached the government regulations. The centre’s report showed the colleges collected over Rs3 billion in fees from the students under various arbitrary headings.
The students, who are in a protest demanding reforms in medical education, blame the commission for failing to perform its job. They say it gives room to suspect at the commission after an allegation that Giri sought bribes in millions in return to granting affiliations.
On Wednesday, Durga Prasain, owner of Jhapa-based B and C Medical College, accused Giri of demanding Rs 200 million for affiliation to his college.
“This is a serious issue that needs to be investigated. The government should either take action against Prasain if his allegations are wrong or book Giri,” said Kadariya. The struggling students have issued an ultimatum to the government to form a probe committee by Monday. Giri has rejected the allegation saying it is a conspiracy to defame him.
The students also have said the commission’s inefficiency has delayed the admission of the MBBS and BDS students. Though the admission had to be completed by October, it is yet to begin. The commission’s delay in conducting counselings, allocating the seats to medical colleges and determining the scholarship quota, had pushed the entire academic session by three months. “The commission is a total failure,” Anit Sinha, general secretary of the struggle committee, told the Post.
Giri, however, said they had already sorted out the technical issues and the admission would start “very soon”.