Medical colleges in India – too much to dream?

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Indeed the population of India is the 2nd largest in the world and hence the number of people aspiring to become medical doctors is huge. To meet this huge demand in admissions into medical schools, numerous private medical colleges have been opened up in India. However, the “capitation” fee and the actual education fee all adds up to just extraordinary numbers!

Recently, a Feature article by Jeetha D’Silva and a Views and Reviews article by Sanjay Nagral throws light upon the outrageous medical school fee and commercialization in healthcare and medical education in India.

Jeetha D’Silva reports that private medical colleges mostly ask for a one-off “capitation” fee, apart from tuition fee and others. The compulsory donations may even exceed Rs10m (£100 000; €130 000; $150 000). And since this course is popular amongst Indians, the parents end up paying this huge amount which is illegal. These would eventually amount to the “black money” in India which is estimated to be Rs60bn, based on capitation fee paid to professional colleges alone in India!

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Source: Pixabay

It is a nightmare for students to obtain admission into a reputable medical college especially after facing all the competition, writing numerous entrance examinations and getting through the various reserved ‘quotas’. The Supreme Court of India has considered capitation many times. Its first judgment in 1992, declared that charging such fees was arbitrary, unfair, and, therefore, in violation of the fundamental right to equality contained in article 14 of the constitution. But some court judgments have found to be in favour of private institutes charging capitation. And even the Supreme Court has ruled that private colleges can reserve some seats as “paid” to subsidize places earnt on merit. In its most recent judgment on capitation, the Supreme Court of India observed that capitation is still prevalent despite orders declaring the practice illegal. It continues because of the high demand for medical degrees.

Commercialization of education has lead to degenerating healthcare standards. Sanjay Nagral a consultant surgeon in Mumbai, writes that people have transformed their thoughts from not accepting donation to accepting them due to the trend nowadays. He says, “Broad economic changes have opened up public services, including higher education, to the logic of emergent market economics. So the idea of privatized higher education has acquired political backing and social sanction. Most private medical colleges are owned by the political elite—these cash cows also confer power because they dole out places.”

These details about huge fee and illegal transactions could cause an outrage but the truth of the matter is that it needs to be addressed as this ends up causing the rich to be richer and the poor to be poorer. “Fundamental reform by Indian citizens is necessary and this will help the medical industry”, says Sanjay Nagral.

The original articles can be accessed at:

http://bmj.co/1GCCOje

http://bmj.co/1zNd5MC

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Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (www.sciglo.com); -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo (www.sciglo.com) and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.