Kathmandu, November 26
Medical colleges accused of overcharging students have relented to the government pressure and agreed to reimburse extra money that they collected beginning tomorrow.
Medical colleges reached an agreement to this extent with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology late this night after the government warned it would round up their promoters if they failed to reimburse the extra sum collected from MBBS and Bachelor of Dental Surgery students.
The government had previously issued a 15-day deadline to medical colleges to address students’ concerns, which expired yesterday. The government then extended the deadline by 24 hours, which ended today.
After the deadline expired today, college promoters said they would not abide by the government’s instruction, as they had to pay huge amounts to universities, Nepal Medical Council and Inland Revenue Office in various fees and taxes.
The rigidity shown by medical colleges prompted Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel to hold a meeting with Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, Home Secretary Prem Kumar Rai, and Inspector General of Police Sarbendra Khanal. The meeting directed the police to arrest college promoters, who do not heed government instruction, beginning tomorrow. After this meeting ended, Pokharel invited college promoters to his office to find an amicable solution.
The meeting, which started at around 8:00 pm, was attended by representatives of Medical Education Commission, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu University and Nepalgunj, Chitwan, Kathmandu, Universal, National, Nepal, Bharatpur, Kist, Nobel, Universal and Gandaki medical colleges.
After the meeting was over at around 11:45pm, medical colleges signed a five-point agreement with the government.
As per the agreement, medical colleges will start reimbursing extra funds raised from students in academic years 2017-18 and 2018-19 beginning tomorrow. The money that colleges need to reimburse can also be deducted from students’ fees or other costs payable to academic institutions.
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 Medical Education Commission will first conduct a study in coordination with universities before formulating a reimbursement plan.
The meeting also decided that medical colleges would collect fees for this academic year as per the decision taken by the commission. The meeting also directed the commission to initiate the process of creating a formula to determine fees for academic year 2020-21 and onwards.
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.
A version of this article appears in print on November 27, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.