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What pushes medical aspirants to go abroad

The only solution, according to some healthcare experts, is to allow private medical colleges to have more seats

Sanjay Mandal | Published 12.03.22, 09:21 AM
Representational image.

Representational image.


Extremely high cost of setting up a medical College and unrealistic regulations on running the medical College resulting in an affordable tuition fees, along with inability of governments to create more seats, could be the two factors that have pushed medical seats out of bounds of many aspirants who are forced to choose cheaper options in other countries like Ukraine to pursue their dreams of becoming doctors, said health officials and experts.

The only solution, according to some healthcare experts, is to allow private medical colleges to have more seats in the existing infrastructure.


Surajit Bose, a second year MBBS student at Zaporizhzhia State Medical University in Ukraine, returned from the war ravaged country to Calcutta on February 25. The 20-year old from Behala had arrived in Calcutta on February 25. He had enrolled at the university in 2020-21 session paying around Rs 3.5 lakh for the first year as tuition fee. He had to pay for another five years.

"I had tried at least five private medical colleges in India including Bengal and south India. The fees for five years varied between Rs 70 lakh and Rs 1.5 crore. My family could not afford so much money," said Surajit.

The Telegraph had earlier reported how thousands of medical students from Bengal and other parts of India go to countries like Ukraine because of lower costs of education. There are around 18,000 Indian students studying in 25 medical colleges in Ukraine. Most of them had returned after being stuck for days without water and proper food during the ongoing Russian invasion of the country.

Many others like Surajit had been forced to go to countries like Ukraine, Russia and China because of the unaffordable costs here. One medical college in Bengal is charging Rs nine lakh per semester along with Rs 50,000 for admission fee and Rs 15,000 as caution money. There are nine semesters.

Another college has been allowed by the government to charge Rs nine lakh plus the other expenses for one semester.

"We need a more structured process to fix the fees for the management quota seats at the private medical colleges. Now the state government regulates the fixation of fees but the process should be more scientific and based on what kind of infrastructure and quality of teachers is provided by these institutions," said a senior official of the state health department.

"Also, there has to be a stricter monitoring process to ensure that a private medical college is taking the fees fixed by the state," he said.

The official said the state health department receives complaints every year against several private medical colleges from students and their family members who allege that the institutes charge more than what is announced officially.

Some of the private medical colleges argued that because of the high investments for setting up an institute and running it, they have to charge high fees to make it viable.

"To set up a medical college with 150 seats, an investment to the tune of Rs 600 to 700 crore is required. The cost of land is separate. Despite that the cost of medical education is lower than that in the US or UK," said an official of a private medical college in Bengal. "Every month, we have to pay Rs five crore as salary to teachers and other employees," said the official.

Devi Shetty, chairman of Narayan Health, feels the solution to the problem could be by asking the private medical colleges to accommodate another 100 medical students.

"There would be no problem for the pre-clinical stage of education. But for the clinical training, these medical colleges, whose own hospitals would not be able to accommodate the additional students, should be asked to adopt a nearby government hospital and spend some funds for upgrading it," said Shetty.

"These students need not be provided accommodation within the campus. When I was a young medical student at Kasturba Medical College Mangalore affiliated to the government Wenlock hospital, all my clinical teachers were the leading doctors  of Mangalore who taught us on an honorary faculty basis. None of my clinical teachers were full-time faculty. And believe me they were my best teachers who taught me everything that I practise today. I wish we could bring back that system," he said.

"This way, the medical colleges can charge Rs 25 lakh for five years for a student and it still will be viable," Shetty pointed out.

He said for the students who have returned from Ukraine midway through their courses can be accommodated in the same way.

Last updated on 12.03.22, 02:39 PM

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