June 28, 2019 06:00 AM NPT
By: Rohit Rai
Junior residents staging protests at the gate of the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences.
Junior residents of BPKIHS padlock offices of VC, Rector
DHARAN, June 28: Venting their ire against BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS) for providing 1/3rd of the total MD/MS seats to foreign students, BPKIHS' Junior Resident Welfare Society on Thursday padlocked the Institute.
It has been a week since the students and teachers of BPKIHS have been staging continuous protests demanding the removal of the foreign student quota. They have accused the Institute of going against the National Medical Education Act 2018 and providing "too many" seats to foreign students.
The Society has claimed it padlocked the offices of Vice-chancellor Dr Raj Kumar Raunniyar and Rector Dr Guru Khanal, preventing them from entering their offices. Earlier, the Society had issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the Institute authorities, demanding that to foreign student quota be removed. As the Institute failed to respond to the ultimatum in the given time, the Society padlocked the office on Thursday. The junior residents staged a sit-in outside the office of the Vice-Chancellor after padlocking his office. The examination committee of BPKIHS had made a decision to sanction 26 of the total 123 seats for MD/MS to foreign students. An entrance examination was conducted on the same basis last Saturday. "Wast BPKIHS established to produce Nepali doctors or foreign doctors?" questioned Dr Kabiraj Paudel, chairperson of the Society.
BPKIHS has been providing free education to PG students. So, the fees collected from the foreign students (mostly Indians) is a major source of income for the Institute. At the master's level, BPKIHS has a total of 150 seats of which 123 seats are for MD/MS students while 18 seats are for dentists. Similarly, it has eight seats for DM/MCH and one seat for MDAHA. And the remaining 26 seats of MD/MS are for foreign students.
On Monday, the Institute will be providing counseling to the students who will pass the entrance examination. "We have breached no rule of the Medical Education Act by enrolling foreign students," said VC Dr Rauniyar. The junior residents' protest has directly affected the Out Patient Department (OPD) services.
The students and teachers have warned of halting their services strictly from Friday. According to Dr Khanal, the resident doctors of Bir Hospital and TU Teaching Hospital have also extended their support to the BPKIHS junior residents' protests.
Meanwhile, the agitating students of BPKIHS have filed a complaint at Nepal Medical Council about the issue. Following the complaint, the Council has sent a letter to the Medical Education Commission (MEC) urging it to find out whether BPKIHS has breached the Medical Education Act while providing seats to foreign students.
Vice-chancellor Rauniyar laments that BPKIHS won't be able to pay even salaries to its teachers if foreign students are not enrolled. According to him, the fees collected from foreign students and the treatment cost charged on the patients are two major sources of income for the Institute to pay salaries to its staffers and doctors. "We are ready to remove the quota for foreign students if the government is ready to afford the salaries of the doctors and officials," said Dr Rauniyar, adding, "We have to spend more than Rs 110 million every month to pay salaries to our staff. How will we manage that if we don't have foreign students?"