Private Medical College Owners Demand Cancellation of Automated Admission Process

Private Medical College Owners Demand Cancellation of Automated Admission Process

The Bangladesh Private Medical College Association (BPMCA) has called for the cancellation of the automated admission process for first-year MBBS students. During a discussion meeting titled “Enhancing the Quality of Private Health Education and Addressing the Challenges of the Current Student Enrollment Crisis” held on Saturday, May 25th, at the SIRDAP Auditorium in Dhaka, the association voiced its concerns.

In a written statement, BPMCA President M A Mubin Khan highlighted that the current admission process is causing a loss of talented students. Many students are admitted to institutions against their wishes, leading to a lack of focus and eventual dropout. He argued that the complexity introduced by digitizing the admission process is detrimental to the health education system.

The meeting revealed that annually, 11,588 students are admitted to MBBS courses, with 5,380 seats in 38 government medical colleges and 6,208 seats in 67 private medical colleges. Of the private college seats, 3,657 are allocated for local students and 2,551 for foreign students. Private medical colleges enroll over 60% of MBBS students in the country.

The private health sector employs about 1.2 million people, including 70,000 doctors. Investment in this sector amounts to 3.5 billion USD, with an economic impact of 6.6 billion USD. Approximately 12,000 foreign students study MBBS in private medical colleges, generating 2 billion BDT in foreign currency.

The BPMCA argued that the automation process prevents students from choosing their preferred private medical colleges, resulting in a drop in applications. In the two years since automation was introduced, the number of applications to private colleges has barely matched or slightly exceeded the number of available seats. They questioned the rationale behind automation given the already low number of applicants to private medical colleges. The association suggested that increasing the foreign student quota to 50% could bring in over 2 billion BDT in remittances.

M A Mubin Khan pointed out that Bangladesh has only 7.26 doctors per 10,000 people, the second-lowest ratio in Southeast Asia. He emphasized the significant contribution of the private sector in producing doctors but criticized the health ministry’s approach, which he believes has created chaos in private medical college admissions.

He accused the automation process of being a conspiracy to destroy the private medical sector, noting that 1,200 seats in private medical colleges remain vacant this year. Over the past two years, more than 20% of seats have gone unfilled, even in the quota for poor and talented students. Automation, he claimed, has discouraged students from applying.

The BPMCA proposed several measures to address the issues:

  • Regular monitoring and evaluation of the quality of education in private medical colleges, with steps taken to address deficiencies.
  • Providing financial support for infrastructure improvements, investment in modern teaching technologies, and hiring qualified faculty members.
  • Encouraging collaboration between private and public institutions through knowledge exchange, faculty exchange programs, and joint research projects to improve the overall quality of medical education.
  • Offering continuous education programs for faculty members of private medical colleges.
  • Strengthening the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC) to improve the quality of both public and private medical education.
  • Providing full cooperation to enhance the standards of private medical colleges by removing existing barriers.

Health Minister Dr. Rokeya Sultana acknowledged that the automated process has been problematic since its inception during the Pakistan era, sharing her personal experience of not being able to secure admission to Dhaka Medical College due to the system.

Former Foreign Minister A. K. Abdul Momen stressed the importance of improving the quality of hospital doctors and increasing public trust and competition in the healthcare sector. He emphasized that enhanced quality in healthcare would naturally lead to better outcomes.

The event was attended by notable figures from the health ministry, principals of private medical colleges, and experts in the field.

AK Kabir

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