Kerala: Private Medical Colleges seek Advance Fee, Parents of MBBS students plan to take legal recourse
Thiruvananthapuram: Annoyed with the private medical colleges seeking advance fees from the students, the parents of the MBBS students are planning to take legal recourse. They had already approached the State Government and the Fee Regulatory Committee with their concerns.
This comes after the Self-financing medical colleges in the State started demanding fees for the upcoming academic year in advance at a time when the classes of the current academic year have just started. Considering the situation, when even the parents are suffering from the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, these demands by the medical colleges have definitely come as a blow.
As per the notices issued by these private medical institutes, the students 2017-18 batch would now have to pay the fees for the fifth year, 2018-19 batch would have to pay the fees for fourth year, and 2019-2020 batch would have to pay fees for the third year. It should be noted in this context, that the third year online classes of 2018-19 batch haven't even been started yet and their second-year examinations are still pending.
As per the latest media report by the New Indian Express, these colleges had demanded advance fees in August last year as well when the country was fighting the pandemic. However, many parents didn't hesitate paying the fees as they didn't want the classes of their children to get interrupted.
Even during the lockdown, the self-financing medical colleges continued charging the hostel and mess fees. On average, the MBBS students need to pay Rs 8 lakh to 9.5 lakh per annum as a fees for their medical education at the private medical colleges.
The Daily further adds that protesting against the demand of the private medical colleges asking the students to pay advance fees, the Parents Coordination of Medical Students (PCOMS), an association comprising parents of students belonging to private medical colleges, had approached the government and complained against the colleges collecting fees in an arbitrary manner.
The State Government, on the other hand, mentioned its inability to do anything as they had limitations for interfering into the fee related matters concerning the private medical colleges.
Following this, the PCOMS approached the Fee Regulatory Committee for Professional Colleges headed by Justice (Retd) R Rajendra Babu. They requested the committee to stop the medical colleges from collecting advance fees even before the course of the previous year could be completed.
While commenting on the matter, Anil KS, general secretary of PCOMS said, "We have also demanded that the colleges should also be restrained from taking any coercive action against students who could not pay fees for the next academic year."
However, if their complaints are not addressed the association is planning on taking the legal recourse, adds the TNIE.
Meanwhile, speaking to the daily, head of an organization that runs self-financing colleges in the State said, "The salary of the medical college staff and the day-to-day expenses for running the institutions are being met through the fees collected from students. Even if the course extends by many months owing to the pandemic, the total fee collected for entire course period would remain the same."
The managements further added that the fee was being collected according to the schedule fixed by the fee regulatory committee.
However, the conflict between parents and self-financing medical colleges is not something new. Challenging the exorbitant fees levied by the private medical colleges, previously the State government had moved to the High Court and Supreme Court as well.