KATHMANDU, Jan 30: MBBS students under the Institute of Medicine (IOM) staged a protest at Maitighar here Monday against the medical colleges charging additional fees.
The students chanted "We are students, not money banks" during the protest.
Milan Gaire, president of Free Students Union at IOM, said that private medical colleges were collecting fees under the heads of annual fees, security deposit, internship fees, field visit and others. "Charging fees under these heads is against the rules," he said.
After the private colleges were accused of charging additional amounts of about Rs 1 million for MBBS admissions, IOM had urged the students not to pay any additional admission fee to the medical colleges they enrolled in.
There are seven medical colleges under IOM, which has allocated a total of 660 seats for MBBS this year. According to IOM, it recommended 90 seats for KIST Medical College (Lalitpur), 100 seats for Nepal Army Medical College (Kathmandu Valley), 80 for Janaki Medical College (Janakpur), 90 for Gandaki Medical College (Pokhara), 90 for National Medical College (Birgunj), 100 for Universal College of Medical Science (Bhairahawa), and 90 seats for Chitwan Medical College (Chitwan). Besides these seats, IOM itself has an enrollment capacity of 75 seats for MBBS.
The private colleges have been accused of charging additional fees, which is against the rules, according to IOM sources. The government fixed a fees ceiling of Rs 3.85 million in Kathmandu Valley and Rs 4.24 million outside the Valley as the total fees for MBBS in private medical colleges. Besides this, the colleges can charge additional charges for exams, hostel and food. However, some private colleges were reported to have charged Rs 800,000 to Rs 1.2 million extra as admission fees.
IOM Dean's Office issued a notice to students urging them to pay only 50 percent of the total fees during admissions and do this online.
“Private colleges cannot take any fees themselves except exam fees and hostel and food charges,” said Prof Dr JP Agrawal, Dean at IOM.
“We admit students on the basis of merit and send them to the respective colleges as per quota,” said Dr Agrawal. “They complained of additional fees. So we issued the notice yesterday,” he added.
MBBS classes were scheduled to begin from November 17. However, the admissions process for the current fiscal year began only in the second week of January.
IOM on December 4 published the results of the MBBS entrance tests, but these were canceled on November 19 and the tests re-taken on December 2. The first entrance test was canceled following controversy about cheating in the exams through the use of electronic devices.
A total of 46 percent examinees received the minimum 50 percent marks required for admission to MBBS. A total of 7,298 students appeared in the entrance tests taken on December 2 and 1,672 (18 percent) did not show up for the tests. Altogether 3,298 Nepalese and 33 foreign students passed the entrance exam.
The TU executive council had snatched away the authority of IOM to decide allocation of MBBS seats. The government and TU agreed to revoke this decision in the last agreement reached with Dr Govinda KC, a professor at IOM, who has staged a series of fasts-unto-death in support of medical education reforms. However, the agreement has become toothless.
TU decided the admissions quota only on January 5.