The Financial Express

From clinic to medical college

-File photo -File photo

Like the proverbial transformation from a molehill to a mountain, a clinic in Rangpur town became a medical college. It is one of several such specialised and highest seats of learning this country has witnessed sprouting over the past two or three decades. Particularly, private universities without the bare minimum facilities and qualifications started operating --- some of them illegally. Medical colleges followed suit. Starting in the year 2000, as reported in a Bangla contemporary, the Northern Private Medical College also joined the bandwagon. As it happens in such so-called specialised educational dispensation, the sponsors were reportedly adept enough at managing approval from the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BM &DC) as also from the Rajshahi University (RU). Quite a few batches passed out of this medical college. The problem of internship facing the medical graduate on account of the minimum 250-bed hospital was also similarly managed by an arrangement with the Rangpur Medical College and Hospital. Unsurprisingly, apart from a handful of the medical graduates coming out of this college, the rest could not stick to the lucrative medical profession. 

Now the problem came to a head when in 2016 the BM&DC and the Rajshai University found that the Northern Private Medical College failed to fulfil the minimum requirement of a medical college and scrapped their approval and affiliation. But the sponsors did not stop its academic activities; rather went on with admission of fresh batches of students. As many as 300 students --- 40 of them from Nepal --- have been studying there. Of late, these students and 21 graduates who passed out last time came to know that the college has no affiliation. This came to light when the medical college could not manage internship for its latest 21 graduates.

For the past one and a half months, students have been protesting the college authority's betrayal with them. When the director general of medical education, DGHS, and president of the BMDC visited the Rangpur Medical College, the students of the Northern Private Medical College demanded migration to approved medical colleges and the opportunity for internship for the 21 medical graduates. The uncertainties facing medical students and graduates here are nothing new. Quite a number of such commercially operated so-called highest seats of learning and medical and other specialised educational institutions have cheated students and ruined their future. Such education is outrageously costly. In this case, admission fee was in the range of Tk 2.0-2.5 million and monthly tuition fee between Tk15,000 and 20,000.

When this kind of irregularities, fraudulence and chaos can go in the education sector, raising accusing fingers at the sponsors alone will not do. How can universities and medical colleges without adequate qualified teaching staff, a separate and spacious campus, libraries, hospitals of specific number of beds (in case of medical college) be allowed academic operation? The approving authorities cannot shirk their responsibilities for this awful state of things. They should also be held accountable for collusion with the errant sponsors. In the first place, the authorities must ensure that such an educational institution has all the requirements in place for imparting higher and specialised education before getting approval.   

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