KATHMANDU, Feb 16: Private medical colleges have been accused of charging students on government scholarships fees under unreasonable heads.
Some students studying on government scholarship at private medical colleges affiliated to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) under Tribhuvan University (TU) and at Kathmandu University have filed complaints at the Ministry of Education (MoE) that the medical colleges have charged them unreasonable fees under different heads, according to MoE.
“The file has been forwarded to the office of the TU Vice Chancellor (VC) for necessary action,” said ministry officials.
VC Prof Dr Tirtha Raj Khaniya said that he would look seriously into the matter. “We will then take the needed decision,” he added. “The ministry and IOM feel responsible over this issue.”
Some colleges have charged Rs 35,000 as admission fee while others have charged up to Rs 250,000 for the same purpose, according to the complaints filed by the students. “We will disclose every detail after the TU decision,” said the MoE officials.
Dr Hari Prasad Lamsal, spokesman at MoE, said that the ministry has received complaints about medical colleges arbitrarily charging fees from students on scholarships. “It's very irrational to charge scholarship students fees just like general students,” he said.
“They can charge minimum fees for university registration and as refundable deposits and hostel charges. However, there must be uniformity in the fee structure,” Lamsal added.
There are 21 medical colleges across the country, including two with foreign investment.
As per the rules, medical colleges financed by Nepali nationals should provide 10 percent of the seats for government scholarships while colleges with foreign investment should allocate 20 percent of seats for scholarships.
About 200 seats in private medical colleges are reserved for students on government scholarship, according to the Nepal Medical Council. The government selects the scholarship candidates through rigorous tests.
Dr Dilip Sharma, the registrar at Nepal Medical Council (NMC), studied in China on government scholarship and he said he did not pay a single penny for his studies. “The students on government scholarship should not be charged any fees,” he said. “If they are doing this, it is simply cheating,” he added. “We will study the matter.”
The government has set a fee structure ranging from Rs 3.5 million to Rs 3.8 million for the MBBS and BDS programs. However, some private medical colleges have been accused of charging up to Rs 9 million from a student, said a high-ranking official at MoE.
Dr SK Kanaudiya, president of the Association of Private Medical and Dental Colleges of Nepal, said that the colleges can charge scholarship students fees for university exams, room and board, security deposit and internship. “Nepalgunj Medical College has not charged any fees in contravention of the rules. I am unaware about what other medical colleges are doing. Charging admission and other fees from such students is illegal,” he added.