Officials bent on granting affiliation to B&C college despite controversyThe government will remove all barriers to grant affiliation to the college soon, education minister says.
Kathmandu University has recommended the Medical Education Commission grant affiliation to the Jhapa-based B&C medical college to run MBBS courses, despite controversies surrounding its operations.
A senate meeting of the university, allegedly under pressure from Minister for Education Krishna Gopal Shrestha, on February 24 decided to pave the way for the college to acquire affiliation.
“We have received a letter from Kathmandu University,” Semant Koirala, spokesperson for the commission, told Post. “The commission’s board meeting is authorised to decide on the matter.”
The commission’s board is led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli while Shrestha and Minister for Health and Population Hridayesh Tripathi are its co-chairs. The commission’s board meeting hasn’t been convened yet. However, it is likely to be convened soon, officials said.
Shrestha said the government is committed to providing affiliation to the college and is not worried about possible criticism. Talking to the Post on Thursday, he said that either Kathmandu University or BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences will grant affiliation to the medical college soon—despite legal provisions barring the institute from granting affiliations. “Students will get to study MBBS at the B&C College very soon,” he told the Post. “All necessary preconditions will be met without delay.”
Shrestha said if there are any legal complications, the government will resolve them. The National Medical Education Act-2019 has set tough criteria to grant affiliations to medical colleges to check malpractices in the medical education sector. The law was endorsed by Parliament to address concerns raised by Dr Govinda KC, an orthopaedic surgeon who has been demanding reforms in the country’s medical education sector.
Kathmandu University has already granted affiliation to 10 medical colleges. Koirala said there are legal complications for Kathmandu University to provide more affiliations.
Only last week, the Kathmandu University and the institute signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate granting the affiliation to the college.
Oli and Shrestha have publicly been claiming that the medical college which got a letter of intent from the Education Ministry five years ago must get an affiliation as it has already developed infrastructure it needs.
The college is owned by Durga Prasai who reportedly maintains close ties with Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chair of the CPN (Maoist Centre).
Prasai has long been lobbying to secure affiliation for his medical college. His efforts, however, have been thwarted due to opposition from KC and his supporters. Officials at the Education Ministry said the government might turn the institute into a university to ease the affiliation process.
The senate meeting of BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in September 2019 had decided to turn the institute into a university. The government needs a separate Act or an amendment to the existing law to convert it into a university.
KC has already announced that he will go on a hunger strike if the government takes any step towards providing affiliation to B&C. Similarly, 10 former vice-chancellors from different universities have voiced their reservation about providing affiliation to the medical college against the existing law.
“We request all stakeholders to correct their decision to provide the affiliation,” the former vice-chancellors had said in a joint statement last week. Despite the controversies, Kathmandu University in 2014 authorised Morang’s Birat Medical College and Rupandehi’s Devdaha Medical College to conduct MBBS courses.