Fees reduction gives hope to medical students

Health Medical students

National Medical Commission (NMC) issued guidelines to regulate fees for fifty percent of medical seats in private and deemed medical colleges.

Mumbai: The new guidelines by the NMC have brought hope for the medical students. The students can now undergo their medical studies with less fees than what they had to pay before.

As per the guidelines, if the government controls fees for private and deemed medical universities, then the medical colleges will become affordable to all the classes. Shreya Durve explained how medicine has become a profession of the privileged class and this decision will open up equal opportunities for everyone. She said, “A large majority of students belong to the lower-middle-class population. Comparing this, and the high cut-offs that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) has presented us with, it is important that everyone gets an equal opportunity to choose a profession of their choice. However, due to lack of funds, appropriate scholarship criteria and excessively high fees (edging into millions), a lot of individuals are unable to get admission to a medical college. Reducing the fees would help cater to those less fortunate, and improve the quality of incoming medical students. Right now, the population comprising private and deemed universities is mostly that of the uber-rich. I believe that being a doctor shouldn’t be a privilege, and rather a showcase of the hard work exhibited by the students.”

The new guidelines issued by the NMC proposes regulation of fees for 50 percent seats of MBBS and postgraduate students by the government. 

Vibhav Deshmukh, a medical student, emphasised how the importance of doctors has increased more during the pandemic but being a doctor is not possible for  everyone. He said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has shed light on how fragmented our medical network is and exactly how deficit we are in the number of doctors. The number of people who can afford medical fees are limited and mostly live in urban areas. If you see, seats that only the super-rich can afford (Rs 20 to 30 lakhs per year) allow those who are not merited but lucky enough to have that kind of background. They understand the scarcity of doctors but can’t imagine shifting to rural or undeveloped areas. Hence I welcome the decision of the NMC to regulate 50 percent of seats. It will allow many needy medical students to become a doctor, who can’t afford expensive medical education”

But this decision may not benefit many private and deemed university colleges. An officer at KJ Sommaya Medical college, Mumbai said, “We have not received any guidelines so far. But if such a decision is taken, many teachers whose salaries are very high will stop teaching. They will say it will be better for them to practice as a doctor full time rather than teaching in colleges. They take salaries in lakhs.” The teaching hospital would have a hard time paying salaries to them. 

He added, “We also need to give free treatment to certain patients. If we don’t give free treatment many patients won’t come over here.” Without the patients, the students will not be able to learn much.

Dr. Shubha Mitra, M&HO TRB Kamrup civil Hospital, said that a reduction in fees will help students. Fifty percent of seat regulation will help the middle class to repay their education loan. Many vacant seats will be filled. This way merit will get its due. Private colleges will have people from all sections of the society and they can come up with more ideas.

Terna medical college, Navi Mumbai, “We have not seen what decision is taken by the NMC. If it’s available on their website we will go and review it. We will read the whole act and then give our opinion on it.”

K.J. Sommaya Medical college’s Mr. Pandey said that we are aware of any such guidelines or decisions about fees taken by the government. NMC has not sent us any guidelines. It will take time for us to check it and comment about it.

Medical education councillor, Muzaffar Khan, highlighted that this decision will majorly benefit deemed universities.Deemed Universities have full autonomy with decisions related to courses, syllabus, admissions and fees.He said, “Deemed university fees for all the students are very high. Their fees are not regulated by the government. So now if the government is regulating fees for 50 percent of seats, it will benefit these university students. Also, another important clause included by NMC is that fees will be fixed for four to five years.These colleges increase fees by five to 10 percent every year and now if it’s regulated, they can’t increase fees. It will impact deemed colleges more as they will incur more losses and benefit students” 

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