The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Syllabus boost sparks hike in medical fees

The government has decided to effect a steep hike in tuition fees for medical courses as part of its move to revamp the medical education system, following a string of proposals from Calcutta University (CU).

With five of the nine medical colleges in Bengal as affiliates, CU has stressed the need to upgrade their infrastructure, since the present facilities at the institutions are inadequate for modernising the current syllabi of the medical courses.

University sources said the government might be unable to bear the expenses that will be necessary for undertaking the development programme. So, the CU Syndicate recently sent a proposal to the government, underlining the need for an immediate fee hike.

“The increased fees will be introduced from the next academic session after a series of discussions on the new fee structure,” said state health secretary Asim Barman.

Acting on the CU recommendation, the government has also indicated that the tuition fees for under-graduate medical courses will be increased from Rs 410 to 12,000 per year.

“A steep rise in medical fees is absolutely necessary, as the government alone cannot provide the huge funds needed for upgrading the present infrastructure. Modernisation of the colleges cannot be delayed any further if quality medical education is to be imparted to the students,” said Manoj Bhattacharya, CU dean of medical faculty.

Despite the rapid development of technology and medical science, CU, as well as other universities controlling the medical colleges in the state, are unable to introduce need-based changes in syllabi due to lack of adequate infrastructure.

For example, CT scan, MRI scan and laser surgery are common requirements in modern treatment procedures.

But there is no scope in the colleges to train new doctors in these areas, since none of the colleges is equipped with the necessary facilities.

In its proposal, the university has suggested that fees at the MBBS level could be raised to as high as Rs 24,000 a year.

It is learnt that CU had suggested this amount, as most engineering colleges in the state, including the Central government-funded IITs (Indian Institute of Technologies), are charging tuition fees at this rate from their students.

Considering the Calcutta University proposals, the government had already increased tuition fees for post-graduate medical students to Rs 1,200 per month last year. The monthly fees for students doing post-doctoral studies have been fixed at Rs 1,500 six months ago.

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