Rs 22 lakh Unauthorised Money collection for Exams: Tamil Nadu Medical College goes under scrutiny
Chennai: Controversy has erupted at Government Stanley Medical College after the Tamil Nadu government directed Dr MGR University to conduct an inquiry on the allegations of 'illegal money collection' from final-year medicos before their exams held in April-May. It has been alleged that the medical college's authorities did "unauthorised collection" of at least Rs 22 lakh from final-year...
Chennai: Controversy has erupted at Government Stanley Medical College after the Tamil Nadu government directed Dr MGR University to conduct an inquiry on the allegations of 'illegal money collection' from final-year medicos before their exams held in April-May. It has been alleged that the medical college's authorities did "unauthorised collection" of at least Rs 22 lakh from final-year MBBS students in the name of conducting practical exams.
The University has already temporarily suspended faculties in four departments (departments of Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Paediatrics) of the college from the panel of Examiners after the issue came to light.
This comes after a man filed a complaint before the college management regarding the matter and alleged that his daughter had failed in one of the clinical papers in the examination for not paying money which were being collected from the students "to arrange accommodation and food" for external examiners and "to show gratefulness to the department" as per "regular practice". He alleged that as his daughter didn't comply with the instructions she had failed by 7 marks in the clinical examination paper.
As per the latest media report by the Times of India, after the allegations came to light back in May, a 10-member panel was formed including professors from the college management. The panel conducted an inquiry into the matter on Friday and after the preliminary inquiry they found out that 223 out of 246 students had paid the said amount taking the total sum of money to Rs 22 lakh.
Indian Express adds that the final year students received a message in the WhatsApp group a few days before the exams which were conducted from April 29-May 8. The message from a student stated, "Guys, most of us know that some amount is being collected for final year practicals every year. The same will be followed this year. A minimum amount of Rs 10000 will be collected. This is being collected for the wellness of us. Do send it to your respective batch reps within 25th of March by means of online transaction your rep has. Instructions for the payment will be given by your batch representatives."
Speaking to the daily, a final-year student said, "All of us sent the money through Google Pay to the class representatives who were aware of this fund collection from the beginning."
The students have further claimed, as reported by the daily, that the money was "collected ahead of the exams with a veiled threat that there is a chance that we may fail if we don't pay".
While commenting on the matter, Dean Dr. P Balaji told TOI, "Five members looked into why the student failed her medicine paper and others investigated why money was collected from students."
The panel looked into the answer sheet, talked to the students and examiners and they found out that the student had failed in the clinical exam n medicine due to poor performance, the dean informed the daily.
The inquiry report revealed that the student scored 193/300 in General Surgery, 127/200 in Gynaecology and 60/100 in Paediatrics but failed in the General Medicine clinical examination, in which she scored only 43, a 7 marks short of the minimum marks required.
"She is otherwise a bright student but in clinicals everything depends on how you interpret the given case on that day. She did not do it well," college vice-principal Dr. A Jamila, who chaired the inquiry panel added while commenting on the issue. However, the panel did not deny the malpractices inside the campus.
The report of the first committee was submitted to the University and a copy was sent to the Directorate of Medical Education, adds New Indian Express. Dr. R Narayana Babu, Director of Medical Education, told the daily that he received the letter on Thursday and an inquiry will be launched into the matter, in which all the students and faculty members will be questioned.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sudha Seshayyan, Vice-Chancellor, Dr. M G R Medical University, told The Indian Express, "The dean received the complaint and he forwarded it to me. There was an inquiry conducted with the complainant as well as the internal and external examiners. The complainant was in tears when the inquiry was held online. But the inquiry committee concluded that she failed because she didn't perform well. We will now conduct a detailed inquiry; an exam reform committee will also look into it. Pending inquiry, I have placed the examiners involved in the process under suspension from the exam panel."
Alleging that such collection of money is a regular practice, a student told the NIE, "Once, the external examiner asked for a mobile phone, so the students collected money and provided the phone. We are afraid because the examiners can fail us."
Asked about the issue, health department principal secretary J Radhakrishnan said the government has ordered a detailed probe into the matter.
"I have asked the Director of Medical Education to inquire into it. Appropriate action will be taken if it is found to be true", he told PTI.
The government, however, has not received any formal complaint in this regard so far, he said adding it was also not clear if "anyone else collected money from the students. This too needs to be ascertained," he said.
Meanwhile, speaking to the Indian Express, he said, "We have now asked the University to conduct an impartial inquiry. We cannot compromise on examination malpractices. We will get to the root of this issue. We will see if it was an isolated incident or a common practice. We will send out a strong message, and the people behind this will not be spared."
The probe would also ascertain whether there were any other financial irregularities, adds PTI.
Barsha completed her MA from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.