KATHMANDU, Jan 10: While the official number of students going abroad to study medical sciences has decreased, it is learnt that dozens of them are doing so without passing the eligibility test.
Figures provided by Nepal Medical Council (NMC) show that over 300 students were given eligibility certificates in 2016 for studying medicine abroad at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
The students must pass one of the merit exams administered by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) under Tribhuvan University or by Kathmandu University, to study medicine abroad. IOM has set a minimum standard of 50 percent for the MBBS.
“The number of students officially going abroad then went down more than four fold compared to the latest trends,” said Dr Dilip Sharma, registrar at NMC.
According to NMC, a total of 1,461 undergraduate students (MBBS/BDS) went to study medicine abroad in 2015 while the figure for 2014 is 1,379.
A student going abroad to study undergraduate medicine has to pay around Rs 5 million.
There are 22 medical colleges including private ones across the country. Some 17,000 medical doctors are registered with NMC as of now. Officials at NMC said that some 2,200 students are enrolled in MBBS and BDS colleges inside the country.
TU and KU have provisioned a minimum merit standard for Nepalese students studying medical courses inside the country and abroad. However, the private medical colleges have not followed the rules strictly, said NMC sources.
“They enroll students who can pay the fees demanded by the colleges, violating the merit standard. Students obtaining 50 to 70 percent marks are enrolled in private colleges while students obtaining above 80 percent receive scholarships inside the country and abroad,” said the NMC officials.
A private medical college charges from Rs 4 million to 7.2 million per student for MBBS and BDS courses, as against the Rs 3.5 million to 3.8 million fee structure set by NMC, according to reliable sources.
Dozens of students studying nursing courses also go to foreign countries every year. Students who do not pass the merit test administered by KU and TU go to foreign universities.
A study carried out by Republica at about half a dozen education consultancies which send students abroad for medical studies shows that students can get admission in foreign universities without passing the merit exams here. “We can send the students abroad to study MBBS without passing merit tests or obtaining a no objection letter. Other consultancies are also doing this,” said a manager of a consultancy at Putali Sadak in Kathmandu, requesting anonymity.
However, Dr JP Agrawal, dean at IOM, said that students who go to study MBBS abroad without passing the merit test would be equivalent to fake doctors. “So, I urge all students and guardians not to go for MBBS study abroad without getting the eligibility certificate,” he added.
The consultancies send students to study medical sciences mainly in universities in Russia, China, Bangladesh, Philippines, Germany, India, Australia, Pakistan, Egypt and Guyana. It is reported that the consultancies receive Rs 300,000 to Rs 500,000 as commission from the universities. There are dozens of consultancies sending students abroad to study medicine.