Students bear brunt of teachers’ agitation

Pokhara, November 7

Seventh and ninth semester MBBS students at Manipal Medical College and Teaching Hospital in Pokhara have been the bearing brunt of a teachers’ agitation in Kaski as classes remain suspended for the past two-and-a-half months.

Around 300 students, including Nepalis, Indian, Maldivians, and Sri Lankans, have been affected after the college administration announced indefinite suspension of classes on August 23.

However, classes for other semester students has not been affected as examinations are under way. Theoretical classes and clinical practice of the students have been badly hampered due to the closure for months.

Despite repeated requests from students and guardians to the administration, agitating teachers, and the district administration to resume classes, their efforts have gone in vain so far due to their rigid stances.

“Our career is at risk due to the negligence on the part of the administration and teachers. If we go strongly against the closure, the administration and the teachers may fail us in the examinations. Hence, we have no option but to remain quiet though it is ruining our career,” said a student.

The teachers began the agitation saying they were being discriminated against. “Indian doctors are given permanent status while Nepali doctors are forced to work on contractual basis,” said an agitating doctor.

They are demanding permanent status, increment of salary and perks, and a provision of compensatory leave.

As many as 55 doctors are taking part in the agitation. The doctors have also formed a nine-member dialogue committee, but the administration has shown no interest in holding talks with them.

The disgruntled teachers accused the administration of not implementing employees’ bylaw.

“The college administration is not concerned about solving the prolonged problem, and has instead used political forces to halt it. Our protest will continue until our demands are addressed,” said an agitating teacher Dr Deepak Prasad Koirala.

He claimed that the administration has pressurised the department chiefs and directed them to settle the problems within themselves.

“The administration imposes a fine if we are late in clearing our dues. But nobody seems serious towards settling the problem,” regretted a guardian who was found on the college premises today.

The students have been upset following rumours that Kathmandu University would dismiss this semester owing to the suspended classes.

Meanwhile, Dean of the medical college BM Nagpal said though they could increase the MBBS quota and salary scale, they could not address all demands put forth by the agitating teachers. “If all the 155 teachers want to sit for dialogue, I am ready. But I don’t want to sit only with those agitating 55 teachers,” he said.

Issuing a statement today, Nepal Student Union central member Dev Krishna Parajuli demanded resumption of classes at the earliest. He also warned of a stern agitation if the classes did not resume soon.