Corruption in medical education, Innovations by Local Levels

Kathmandu - This week reports of corruption and irregularities in Medical Education sector continuedto be the most followed stories.  Innovative approaches by provinces and local governments continued to be reported as well. Issues of  theshortage of infrastructure, reconstruction and donation were also covered this week. 
- This week, the case of corruption and irregularity by private medical colleges was the most covered story. Reports of multiple other medical colleges also made it on the front page of the different media, while the case of Gandaki Medical College took new turn with the fleeing of management officials.District level officials and police intervened directly to open the college services. Districtadministrationfficials, the police and students had agreed to open the offices. Inabsence of any personnel to take responsibility of the institution, the office remained closed.
- Reports of five other medical collegesfrom other parts of  Nepal taking fees more thanapproved by the government was also reported through a front page article in Kantipur this week. It reported in details about the range of additional fees taken illegally by different institutions and the method used by the administrativeofficials of the collegesto force them to pay additional fees. An investigation committee formed by TU had suggestedto takeaction against these institutions. Chitwan Medical College was reported to take 2.2 to 3.5 million extra Nepali Rupees per student under different headingsarbitrarily. It was also reported that Vice Chancellor of TribhuwanUniversityDr.TirthaKhanyawas not willing to respond to the suggestions by the investigation committee, pointing tothe government to take action. It was reported that some students were refused to attend exam for not having paid the additional fees.Extra fees were asked to deposit to a personal account or pay in cash.Mean while, Vice Chancellor of BP Koirala Institute of Health Science, Dharan was reported to have been fired from the position. Prof.Dr.Rajkumar Rauniyar was appointed by at the time the coalition government of Maoists and Nepali Congress. Instruction of dismissal was reported to have been send from the Prime Minister's office. The 42nd meeting of the senate of institution had endorsed the instructions. Senate had alleged  VCof  underperformance and not for not respecting the directions of the Chancellor. Rauniyar had complained that he wasnot allowed to attend the senate the decision was imposed  by the Health Minister.
This chain of unfolding incidents has the potential to redirect student politics towards right direction by the student bodies for the fair regulation of educational institutions. It can be hoped that these incidents will have its influence in the practices of student unions. Dr. Gobinda KC, a campaigner against corruption in medical education sector, also called for the government to stop political appointments in medical education sector and to appoint officials based in seniority and expertise to ensure quality and affordable medical service and education for all through public institutions. He had also request for legal action against position holders involved in corruption not just firing them. Almost all of our academic institutions are infested and paralyzed with political appointments. This should apply to all of them.  
-  This week it was reported that Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) will conduct internal exam for primary, secondary level teachers for their permanent positions. Almost 27 thousand teacher positions will be filled in a one go this year. Thirteen thousand seats are reserved for temporary teachers, while twelve thousand seven hundred and thirty nine positions are going to be filled through open competition. The TSC plans to conduct teachers’ license exam as well by the end of this fiscal year.
- Like previous weeks multiple innovative approaches taken by schools, ward offices, municipalities and provincial governments to improve learning environment and to address challenges first hand in schools were well reported in the media. A news about lack of sufficient hostel facilities in rural municipalitiesthat forced students to adjust in balconies of relatives was reports this week. Concerned Ward Chairinformed that it had requested support to construct higher capacity hostel to provincial government. Gandaki Province had decided that all exam centers to offer sanitary pads for girl students attending SEE examsadopting a policy to provide sanitary pads in all exam centers. It was reported that 54% of the students were girls in the region.Lalitpur municipality had conducted a 5day training session for teachers to teach them learning through IT and Robotics. The intention was to make learning more problem based and to make learning more interesting and child friendly. 
Media coverage of different approaches taken by the local government can be of inspiration for other municipalities. The results of such innovative approaches can be helpful for different government agencies to make better decisions in the future. In the same time, the range of diverse approaches has also created a more hopeful picture about the future of public schools.
- Two schools that operated inside the Durbar High School building before the earthquake were reported to be merged by the government. School act calls for area mapping to operate schools, but two different schools for regular and Sanskrit education ran in the same building in the past. Both the schools hold high historical importance and Sanskrit school was dominated by the other as an expression of dominance of Sanskrit education. 
It can be realized that the school area mapping approaches are being taken seriously by the local agencies, as they closely observe the situation and plan to efficiently mobilize limited funds to improve public schools.
'Education this Week' is a joint effort put to analyze the press coverage of education in Nepal’s print media published in Kathmandu. The main aim of this effort is to identify and explain major education issues picked up by the media and give back and foreground of the news.This, we believe, will help policy makers and other responsible people to keep abreast with ongoing concerns and discussions on and around education. EduKhabar, in collaboration with the Center for Educational Policies and Practices (CEPP) , has produced this analysis based on the news printed in Kantipur (Nepali) and The Himalayan Times (English), Dailies, Himal Weekly(Nepali) and online portal)between March 13-19, 2019 (Falgun 29- Chaitra 05, 2075) - Editor.