Govt, Medical Colleges At Odds Over New Fee Structure

For more than a decade now, the dispute over the fees required to be paid by students pursuing medical degrees has dogged all the stakeholders.

The government has revised the fee structure several times, but the practice of medical colleges charging more than the fixed amounts is widely prevalent.

Private medical colleges argue that the fees set by the government makes it difficult for them to sustain and that the fee ceiling is implemented without proper discussions.

The private colleges have objected to the new fee structure of undergraduate and post-graduate level courses for fiscal year 2021/22, released by the Medical Education Commission (MEC) on Wednesday.

As per the commission, the decision was taken three months ago.“Since the candidates have already filled the forms for undergraduate level medical entrance examination, we decided to release the new fee structure now,” said Dilli Ram Luintel, member secretary of MEC.

The fee for MBBS courses has now been set at Rs. 4,023,250 for colleges within the Kathmandu Valley — up from Rs. 3.8 million — and Rs. 4,436,025 for those outside — up from Rs. 4.24 million.

Likewise, the fee for Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) has been increased to Rs. 2,019,580 from Rs. 1.9 million.Despite the increase, however, the private medical colleges stated that the new fee structures were not enough for them to sustain.

Khuma Prasad Aryal, chairman of Gandaki Medical College, said that the government should try to address their concerns.

The private medical colleges acknowledge that they have charged more fees than the ones set by the government but claimed that they would not sustain if they didn’t.

When asked about the financial burden on students, they argued that the inability to set an acceptable fee structure had affected the health services as well.

“When the medical colleges cannot sustain with the fees set by the government, the charges for health services increase. The government should find a long-term solution to this problem,” said Aryal. “Considering our contribution to the country, the government should work to facilitate us,” said Aryal.

“Unless the government supports medical colleges we cannot sustain with the fee structure set by it. This is why the dispute of overcharging comes out frequently,” said Dr. Rajendra Koju, Dean of Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences.

“The government should talk to all stakeholders and convince them why the fee ceiling should be like this,” he added.The government authorities have asked the colleges to implement the new fee structure and warned of action against those not doing so.

“If any medical college charges more than the prescribed fee structure, students are free to register their complaints. We will initiate legal procedures through the respective district administration,” said Luintel of MEC