Kerala’s medical admission imbroglio has taken a turn for the worse, leaving thousands of eligible students in the lurch. With the apex court fixing Rs 11 lakh a year as interim fee for MBBS courses in self-financing medical colleges, students will now have to pay an admission fee of Rs 5 lakh, in addition to a bank guarantee of Rs 6 lakh in a fortnight. The fee regulatory committee had earlier fixed the fee at Rs 5 lakh, which was challenged by the private medical colleges in the High Court.
Evidently, the state government lost out on a golden opportunity to rein in private managements. Many deserving candidates from financially weak backgrounds will be unable to afford the new fee structure. The Opposition has pinned the blame on the LDF government for unnecessarily dilly-dallying, as if there was a tacit pact with the managements.
In a rearguard action, the chief minister has assured that not a single student, who has qualified for admission, will lose her opportunity on account of the new fee structure. Much to their relief, four Christian college managements have come forward assuring students that no sort of bank guarantee would be collected. A couple of other colleges followed suit, while another has offered 50 seats at the Rs 5 lakh fee. On Wednesday, the government persuaded the banks to provide students with bank guarantees based on its assurance.
In other words, the medical colleges get the cushion of bank guarantee, but the onus of providing the same now rests squarely on the government. If the government is sincere in its approach, it should ensure that the fee regulatory panel fixes the final fee with immediate effect. The government should either help students get bank guarantees or take up the burden on their behalf. As promised by the chief minister, the government should also look into the option of securing educational loans for deserving students, wherever required. Otherwise, deserving students and, consequently, the state’s medical profession would be the ultimate losers.