BENGALURU: “There is no meaning left in the word ‘merit’. The 30 per cent increase in fee only communicates you have no right to think about private colleges,” said Dr Ila, an aspirant for a Master of Surgery course, complaining about the government’s decision to increase the fee for master’s courses for MBBS graduates.
The government on April 30 announced a 20 per cent and 30 per cent hike in fees for government and institutional quotas in private medical colleges for medical and dental courses.
While she has just two medical college options if she wants to stay back home in Dharwad, both are private colleges, which means she will have to shell out Rs 1.1 lakh more in fee each year.
“When seats become unaffordable, repercussions are many. Eligible students have to give up their choice of courses, take a break for years to afford a postgraduate degree, or take loans, which will be a financial burden for years,” said Dr Vasudhendra N, Secretary, Medical Service Centre, Karnataka.
“There is a need to make medical education affordable. While we were expecting a reduction in fees, it comes as a shock to see hikes of 20 and 30 per cent.
Already, the fee almost doubled in 2019,” he added. He said that government college seats for master’s courses should be increased to commensurate with the number of MBBS students passing out every year.
Students have moved to states like Rajasthan and Gujarat only because the same course is affordable there, he added.
The lockdown has not deterred students from expressing their dissent. More than 5,000 signatories have petitioned the medical education minister to withdraw the exorbitant fee hike, ensure adequate infrastructure facilities and to increase the number of PG seats in all government medical and dental colleges.
They demanded that the central and state governments pass legislation to bring all PG seats in private medical colleges under government quota and to make fees affordable to the common man. Students from AIDSO and MSC too carried out an extensive online campaign on Saturday against the fee hike.