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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kathmandu University: the silver lining in the cloud

Survey of today's developments regarding the KU PG admission issue: 
If there is one thing that is consistently gaining ground in Nepal, it is the anarchy and lawlessness. Meanwhile some people/institutions are illegitimately benefiting from the chaos and disintegration.

But how bad is too bad? And at what point does it become irreversible or we have to lose hope?

Today I realized the somewhat complicated nature of the situation we are in. First, there are both good and bad people and most of us have both good and not-so-good virtues. How we behave and what we express is often determined by the circumstances around us.

And most importantly, the same applies for some of the most wealthy and dreaded people who are commonly known with the term of 'mafia'. Their clout is not absolute and their behavior also depends to a large extent to how we react to them. And it is based on this point that the meeting of concerned young doctors at NMA building today decided to proceed ahead.

Crimes are of two types: those of commission and those of omission. If crimes of omission are to be taken seriously, then the previous team of KU officials led by Dr. Suresh Raj Sharma appears to be the biggest criminal in history of Medical education in Nepal; something I realized today. Regardless of what he said/preached/wrote or thought, he was at the helm when the private medical colleges were given a free hand to extort as much as Rs 70 lacs for PG seats without impunity. Let alone the reputation of KU as the place of most obscenely rigged PG entrance results.

It goes without saying that the current team at KU led by Dr. Ram Kantha Makaju deserves credit for bringing whatever change that has taken place so far. Without going into nitty-gritty of what exactly transpired during this year's entrance exam, the difference between last year and now was significant and visible for everyone to see.

What we realized today was that he achievements made so far were significant, to say the least, and the need now is to institutionalize those gains while seeking more in the due course of time. In this regard, the KU administration which has responded positively so far to the latest problem related to admission in private medical colleges, needs our solid support.

So far this explains the belligerent posture of some of the  medical colleges demanding illegal money or bond from PG aspirants: bad habits come easily but are hard to get rid of. After all, who won't grab the money that comes their way? It was indeed the system that allowed the private medical colleges to loot the students as much as they could in the past years. Someone half-jokingly said a serious thing today: if private medical colleges are now allowed to have their way, a day will come when one who can buy USG and CT scan machines will be radiologist. That is a scenario in which the owners of medical colleges would benefit the most (but be sure, not every single medical college can be lumped together, some have shown essentially professional conduct including during the present admission issue).

But can we afford to ruin lives of thousands of medicos over years and the health and lives of millions of people just to benefit a handful of people?

The answer is 'no'. Today's meeting has concluded by communicating our position to NMA and tomorrow, the aggrieved friends are officially approaching KU to ask KU officials to sort out the issue.

Let's hope the issue will be settled amicably this time around as only two out of at least seven private medical colleges have resisted to shedding their bad habits. In case this approach fails, we are mulling over other options which will be made public in due course of time. The battle to erase the legacy of past KU officials, however, will continue. The movement to cleanse corruption in KU will end on the day when people including Dr. Suresh Raj Sharma are made answerable for their crimes of omission. After all, Rome was not built in a day!

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