Medical education bill passed by parliamentary committee

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The Women, Children, Elderly and Social Welfare Committee of the parliament on Friday has passed the medical education bill incorporating the agreement reached during the meeting called by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba at Baluwatar earlier on the day to address the demands of Dr Govinda KC who is on the 19th day of his 11th fast unto death.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Gopal Man Shrestha claimed that Dr KC will end the fast today itself as the committee passed the bill in a way to address his demands.

PM Deuba instructed the stakeholders concerned to create an environment for Dr KC to end his fast by passing the bill on the basis of new agreement reached to rewrite the clause the subcommittee of the parliamentary committee had added on Thursday to allow affiliation to medical colleges that have already received letter of intent, and have the requisite physical infrastructure.

The medical education bill tabled in the parliament by the KP Oli government to address Dr KC's demands was passed by the subcommittee adding a sentence 'there will, however, be no obstruction in providing affiliation to the educational institutions that have received letter of intent before this act came into force, and meet the requirements for physical infrastructure set by the bodies concerned' to clause 13 of the bill.  

The bill passed by the parliamentary committee includes 'there will be no obstruction for providing affiliation to the educational institutions that have already received letter of intent if they meet the standards set after this act comes into force', according to former health minister Gagan Thapa who attended the meeting. The other provisions including not providing affiliation to any other medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley for the next 10 years has been kept as it is.

A few medical colleges including Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences, financed by UML leaders and cadres, Nepal Police Hospital, People's Dental and National in Kathmandu, and B&C of Jhapa that have already received such letters of intent would have been eligible for affiliation as per the changes made by the subcommittee in the bill.

The standards mentioned in the rewritten clause after Friday's agreement will be set by the Medical College Regulation Commission to be formed under the prime minister, in accordance to the act. The commission will do mapping for the number of medical colleges that can be opened in a district on the basis of geography and population, and set the mandatory standards for medical colleges.

The act also requires the Health Ministry to set separate standards for operation of medical colleges while the universities also have their own standards for providing affiliation. It will be very hard for the medical colleges that are waiting for affiliation having already acquired letters of intent to meet all these standards, according to persons involved in negotiations.   

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