With less than 3 days left for closing of admissions to MBBS for 2017-18, another fee structure has come into force in Kerala. The fee of Rs 11,00,000/- made applicable to private self-financing colleges has come as a shock to hundreds of medical aspirants. The announced structure of fee in the form of DD for Rs.5,00,000/- and bond for a maximum amount of Rs.6,00,000/-, applicable to majority of the private Self-financing Colleges, has all of a sudden changed to ‘DD for Rs 5,00,000/- and Bank Guarantee of Rs 6,00,000/-’. The distance from a ‘Bond for an amount up to 6 lakhs’ to ‘Bank Guarantee for 6 lakhs’ is not that short. As per the bond, if 6 months were available to raise an amount, which could be anywhere between 0 to 6 lakhs, students get 15 days to raise a bank guarantee of Rs.6,00,000/-. Those desirous of an MBBS seat now, have to raise 6 lakhs deposit or pledge some asset worth Rs.6,00,000/- in a short span of 15 days in addition to the 5 lakhs they have already made into a Demand Draft to take an admission to MBBS.
The allotments to the MBBS course in private self-financing Medical colleges has always been a matter of dispute in Kerala, right from 2002 when they started functioning in the state. Year after year, the government and managements have been disputing on these matters with the majority of the disputes ultimately being taken to the courts. During some periods, there were issues related to the quota of seats for the government, while at other times the dispute centered on the rank list from which the students were to be selected. In addition to the state entrance, separate entrance examinations were conducted during some period for admission to these colleges. The fee for MBBS has always been a matter of dispute in the medical admissions in the state, in addition to the above. It is really sad that the state has not been able to have a consensus on these matters even after almost 15 years since the issues have arisen in the state.
In all these disputes, each party associated with the issues has been trying to find fault with the other parties. However, there is only one group who has always been at the receiving side throughout and they are the students and the parents. There is no dispute on this at least. They have been silent spectators in all these issues, just because of their desire to get an admission to the course of their preference and the course they have been dreaming of since their student days. In the process, a final decision came on the test to be administered for admission to MBBS in the country. The introduction of NEET, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, was generally welcomed by the students, parents and the society, as it gave them the relief from the strain and mental pressures of attending multiple tests for admission to the different institutions offering the same course.
With the Medical Council of India making amendments in the regulations and introducing the common counseling by the state/state agency for all the seats for MBBS in the institutions, the expectations of the students and parents were on the highest point as far as medical admissions were c0ncenred as they thought that the government had a golden chance to set things right. But as always, situation is different in Kerala, even on this matter. Even while students were registering options, they have not been able to get an idea of the fee they have to pay for the course, if they were admitted. Even when they reported for admissions, there were apprehensions on the fee structure.
Who is to be blamed for all these? Definitely, it is not the students and the parents. It is meaningless pondering over these issues now. Those who are able to pay the notified fees will get allotments and admissions. Amidst all these confusions, the stand taken by the Colleges under the Christian Professional Colleges Managements Federation, need to be appreciated. It is for the Government and Managements to sort out these issues at least the next year with proper homework and effective management of things. The Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee should also play its role effectively. Let the prospective medical aspirants and their parents be able to breath a sigh of relief, at least before the 2018 admission process takes off.
(The writer is former joint commissioner of entrance examinations)....