To those who know what is happening with medical education in Nepal, the picture tells it all. But there are many more who do not know it. There are others who do not want to accept that there is a problem in Nepal’s medical education.
When a child is born into a middle class family, the first thing they do is to celebrate the birth. The next thing the parents do is to think of its future. To secure the future, their first aim is to provide education to the children. So that, the child will eventually become a doctor and turn over the fortunes of the family. The education system promotes such a motive. The teachers guide brighter students into medical profession no matter what subject they are interested in.
The Entrance “Preparation”
Those who have passed their Plus 2 with decent percentage (60% and above- I guess) are eligible to attend the entrance examinations held by the Institute of Medicine (IoM), TUTH (Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital); Ministry of Education (MoE); Kathmandu University Schools of Medical Sciences (KUSMS); B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS); and entrance exams run by the Indian Embassy, Bangladeshi Embassy, etc. Thousands of students join entrance preparation centres, based on their convenience. That’s where I guess the business begins.
The business might well begin from the Plus 2 “colleges” as they bring in “teachers” from reputed institutes. They promote more of their institutes along with some short-cuts which will help the entrance. The short-cuts might not help always. In that case, you are asked to join the institute – a business strategy!
After providing a variable amount of money (None to 25,000) one may join an entrance preparation centre. The course is not extra-ordinary. No question is asked beyond the HSEB (Plus 2) syllables. They teach a touch more than necessary. They teach questions from IIT-JEE, AIIMS, and from graduate level which are absolutely unnecessary. Not bad if you want to join B.Sc., but not of any use if you are sure you can “crack” the examination.
The Entrance and the Scholarship
The pattern and number of questions depends on the exam you are giving. MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions) with usually four options are provided. Subjects include Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. (English, as well, in Indian Embassy exam). According to the percentage obtained in the Entrance Exams an allotted seats, one can obtain scholarship. Those who get above 55% can join medical colleges (donation colleges) affiliated with the IOM, KUSMS, and other universities. The entrance exams of the MoE also allows seats under reservations.
Donation and Private Medical Colleges
As already mentioned, those obtaining more than 55% can join these colleges. These medical college can not charge more than a certain amount (30 lakhs?) according to the rule, but this is not the case. They are charging far more than what they ought to (50 to 80 lakhs!). Furthermore, they are concentrated in the urban areas and most of them do not even meet the minimum standard assigned by the government.
Dr. Govinda K.C. and Hunger Strike
Realising the problems faced by students, parents, and patients due the business-oriented medical colleges, Dr. Govinda K.C. has been trying to change this. As a professional who has worked in rural areas, he understands that corruption is the cause of “Medical College Bloom” in Kathmandu valley and urban areas. To provide access to proper medical services, he believes that the colleges should provide service-oriented education.
Dr. K.C.’s sixth hunger strike had ended this Sunday because the government had promised to set up a commission to control the private medical colleges. He felt he has been betrayed because the commission has not been set up yet. He is starting his seventh hunger strike. Students, doctors and civic society are standing by his side to help provide a standard medical education and to improve the condition of medical services. This blog-post is a small contribution to the cause.