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Admission fees double in five years

Ahmed Shatil Alam

Admission fees of many private medical colleges have almost doubled in the past fives years as the government has failed to regulate the fee levels permitted.
Directorate General of Health Services officials have told New Age that the directorate had sent a recommendation in 2007 to the health ministry regarding MBBS and BDS admission fees at private medical colleges but that ministry had taken no action.
DGHS director (medical education) ABM Abdul Hannan said that the health and family welfare ministry had not yet specified the admission fees and tuition fees of private medical colleges.
‘We have requested owners of private medical and dental colleges to charge a “tolerable” admission fees and tuition fees. It has, however, yet to be fixed,’ he said.
In 2009, Shahabuddin Medical College at Gulshan in the capital charged Tk 10.66 lakh a student in admission fee; the fee has now almost doubled to Tk 20 lakh, the highest fee charged amongst all private medical institutions.
The second most expensive college is Enam Medical College which is charging Tk 17 lakh in admission fee to every student this year, which is an increase by 70 percent on the 10 lakh it charged in 2009.
A number of institutions such as Jalalabad Ragib-Rabeya Medical College, National Medical College, Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College, Bangladesh Medical College and Ibrahim Medical College are now charging Tk 15 lakh in admission fee which was between Tk 3 to Tk 6 lakh more than the cost in 2009.
The Bangladesh Private Medical Association’s treasurer M Ikram Hossain told New Age that the significant increase in admission fees was due to the high cost of infrastructural facilities and high salaries of teachers.
‘High expenditures of the institutions are a major cause of charging this amount of money’ he said.
Most of the institutions, however, also charge their students large sums of money in ‘development’ fees at the time of admission.
Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College and Jalalabad Ragib-Rabeya Medical College are charging around Tk 14 lakh in development fees.
Most private teaching hospitals are also charging around Tk 6,000 to Tk 8,000 in monthly tuition fees — an average of  Tk 4 lakh a year.
Terming the current admission fees of private medical colleges ‘intolerable,’ Hannan, the DGHS director, said that government was trying to control the issue.
‘I think all talented students should get the opportunity to study MBBS, whether they are rich or not,’ Hannan said.
Ikram, however, said, ‘How can the government seek to control the issue when it does not provide us with any subsidy?’
DGHS officials confirmed that Bangladesh now has 54 private medical colleges with a total of 4,800 places.
The ministry on November 11 permitted seven more institutions that have started their admission process on November 30. The process will continue till December 20.

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