In Kerala, anyone with Rs 50 lakh can buy MBBS seat

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi published on July 12, 2011

Academic excellence or the lack of it does not matter if students want to get MBBS seats in Kerala, particularly in the self-financing medical colleges run by Christian missionaries, provided the parents can afford to pay Rs 50 lakh or even more as capitation per seat.

According to reports, the Dr Somervell Memorial Medical College, run by the Church of South India, at Karakonam near Thiruvananthapuram has admitted at least 45 students in the MBBS course for the academic year after collecting between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 50 lakh as capitation. None of these students would have qualified for admission in any college in the normal course.

What is even more shocking is the fact that the college management had filled these seats even before the entrance examination to be held for finding eligible candidates to be admitted in the management quota. The Kerala Medical College Managements’ Association, in which the CSI college is a member, will conduct the entrance test only on Thursday.

But the college had filled 45 of the 50 management quota seats as early as in June. This meant that it had done this even before the date of the examination was decided, a TV channel reported. The association, whose secretary is a representative of the college, had last week agreed with the Government to fill 50 percent of the member colleges’ seats from the general merit list.

The association, which had 11 colleges in it, had signed the agreement with the claim that were committed to upholding the concept of social justice while the four medical colleges coming under the Catholic Church’s Kerala Christian Medical College Managements Federation were not admitting even a single student from the Government list.

According to the TV channel, the college had filled the management quota seats with students who were ranked as low as 47,000 in the Common Entrance Test conducted by the Government in April. No student ranked lower than 3,000 in the test would qualify for MBBS admission in Kerala. The money was reportedly collected not in the college but in the CSI diocesan office.

The capitation the college management charged from the students depended on the ranks each of them had scored in the Common Entrance Examination, the report said. For example, a student who was ranked near 40,000 got a seat for Rs 20 lakh while Allen, a student from Thiruvananthapuram, had to pay Rs 50 lakh as his rank was lower than 47,000.

Apart from these huge amounts paid as “donations”, the students have to remit the annual fees and other required payments. The Medical College Managements Association has proposed an annual fee of Rs 5.95 lakh for the MBBS course this year while that in the four colleges run by the managements of the Catholic Church is Rs 3.5 lakh.

“This shows that the entrance test being conducted by the self-financing colleges in the name of their rights and freedom for running institutions is a big farce,” said a professor at the Government Medical College, Thrissur. “Just think of a situation where such students become doctors and treat patients,” the professor added.

Dr Bennet Abraham, director of the CSI Medical College, said, “No money has been taken from any student inside the college campus,” but he refused to confirm or deny whether capitation was collected at the church’s trust office in the diocesan headquarters. “The report that money had been collected outside the campus is indeed shocking,” he said.

Various student and youth outfits called for cancellation of the recognition of all self-financing colleges that were flouting norms to make money. Most outfits called for cancellation of the entrance test scheduled for Thursday. CPI legislator P Thilothaman raised the issue in the Kerala Assembly.

Yuva Morcha president VV Rajesh alleged that the situation had worsened to this level due to the inability of the Congress-led Government to rein in the private college managements. Former education minister MA Baby of the CPI(M) said the incident had justified his party’s objection to the very concept of self-financing professional colleges.

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