Nepal | January 24, 2020

Medical students demand changes in agreement

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, November 29

Medical students today demanded changes in the agreement reached between medical college owners and the government on Tuesday.

Medical students say the agreement does not specify the deadline to reimburse extra fees the colleges have taken from the students. They say the agreement only talks about reimbursing extra money taken from MBBS and BDS students, but doesn’t mention students of other medical programmes.

“The issue is not only of students studying MBBS and BDS, but is of all the students enrolled in several medical courses. The agreement does not speak anything about nursing and pharmacy, among other medical courses. Therefore, it is necessary to take decisions on extra fees taken from students pursing other medical courses too,” said Milan Gaire, co-ordinator of the Medical Education Struggle Committee.

“The agreement does not talk about the model of returning money,” said Anit Sinha, general secretary of the Medical Education Struggle Committee.

Students have demanded that deadline be given for reimbursement of extra fees.

“The government has not specified any deadline to return the extra fees,” Sinha added.

As per the agreement, medical colleges will have to start reimbursing extra funds raised from students in academic years 2017- 18 and 2018-19, immediately. Students, who were overcharged in academic years 2015-16 and 2016- 17, however, will have to wait for some more time to get their money back, as the Medical Education Commission will first conduct a study in coordination with universities before formulating a reimbursement plan.

“We are doubtful whether the process will begin at all. Though the agreement has been reached to reimburse fees of the first and second year students, the agreement does not clarify when the third and fourth year students will get their money back,” said Sinha.

“There is no option than to file a fraud case against the medical colleges and arrest the medical college owners,” said Prabin Gautam MBBS, a fourth year student.

Students warned that they would be forced to launch fresh protests if the government failed to meet their demands.

‘We will be forced to start hospital-based protests and sit for hunger strike in medical colleges across the country if no changes are made in the agreement immediately,” said Sinha.

A Cabinet meeting, last year, capped MBBS fees at Rs 3.85 million in Kathmandu valley and Rs 4.24 million outside the valley. Students, however, complained that colleges had collected Rs 1.2 to Rs 1.5 million extra from them. MBBS fees for this year have been set at Rs 4.02 million for the valley and Rs 4.44 million for outside the valley.

Medical colleges reached an agreement with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology on Tuesday night after the government warned it would round up their promoters if they failed to reimburse the extra sum collected from medical students.

The students have been protesting since long as the medical colleges overcharged them.

A version of this article appears in print on November 30, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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