KATHMANDU, Nov 16: Tribhuvan University (TU) has been 'unable' to settle the row over the controversial entrance exams for MBBS administered by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) even though a month has already passed. TU's inability to decide the row has left the future of medical students uncertain.
In the MBBS entrance exams taken by IOM on October 14, nearly 9,000 students filled the forms, according to IOM. The entrance exams were conducted at 17 centers including 13 in Kathmandu Valley. Those passing the exams will be eligible for admission to medical colleges under IOM. The new session of MBBS classes is scheduled to begin from November 17. However, neither the entrance test results nor the new schedule for entrance has been published yet.
The Office of the Dean at IOM suspended the results of the entrance exams following reports about cheating through the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices. Police arrested some three dozen individuals suspected of posing as examinees to proxy for others. IOM on October 17 canceled the entrance exams of eight students who sent in fake examinees after changing the photos in the admission cards.
However, the TU executive council meeting has not yet decided whether to cancel the entrance exams or validate the tests despite the controversy. “It's true we have not been able to decide the issue,” said Prof Dr Tirtha Raj Khaniya, vice chancellor of Tribhuvan University and chair of the TU executive council.
“We could not decide anything because we don't have the manpower or the technology to find out the truth about the cheating in the exams,” he added.
As a result of the delay in deciding the issue, aspiring MBBS students have been unable to seek alternatives for further studies. “The academic calendar will definitely be affected and students deprived of their rights,” said Prof Dr JP Agrawal, dean at IOM. “We are under investigation and cannot take any further decision right now,” he added. “TU should have decided sooner to safeguard the rights of the students.”
Meanwhile, police filed cases at Kathmandu District Court on Wednesday against 17 persons accused of involvement in the mass cheating at the MBBS entrance exams.
It was reported that the question paper for the entrance exam was leaked before the test started. However, IOM sources claimed that only 14 purportedly leaked questions matched with the entrance test questions. A total of 60 questions were set in the entrance paper. “It was a scandal created by the medical mafia that owns private medical colleges in order to disrupt the entrance exams and enroll students for fees manifold times higher than the government fee ceiling,” the source claimed, requesting anonymity.
A probe panel was formed to look into the questions leak and cheating. However, it is yet to publish its report.
VC Khaniya said that it was not easy to decide the case. “But we are holding discussions on the process for deciding,” he said. “We are likely to take a decision within two days. There is some chance of canceling the controversial entrance test and administering a fresh one,” he added