There are around 100 private medical and dental colleges across the country. As there is no specific law for these institutions, those are running on the basis of government policy for this sector.
Against this backdrop, the government has designed a law to ensure discipline in private medical and dental colleges by bringing those under a law from two separate guidelines, said an official of the Health Ministry.
Draft of the proposed law ‘The Private Medical Colleges and Dental Colleges Act, 2021’ was approved by the Cabinet on May 3 this year. “We hope the proposed law will be passed in the Parliament as soon as possible,” said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.
Currently, there are some 70 private medical colleges and 26 private dental colleges in the country.
The private medical and dental colleges in Bangladesh are now operated under the ‘Private Medical College Establishment and Operation Guidelines-2011’ and ‘Private Dental College Establishment and Operation Guidelines-2009’.
The policies say about teacher-student ratio, land and other issues. But it was alleged that some private medical colleges don’t have their own places and hospitals. There are not enough regular teachers in these institutions. They don’t get the opportunity to attend the patient for practical education. But arbitrary fees are taken from the students at the time of admission. The Health Ministry and the Department of Health have virtually no control over these institutions.
Former Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Prof Dr Pran Gopal Dutta welcomed the initiative of the government. He said the government has no control over private medical and dental colleges. If the law is enacted, there will be at least some benefit.
Talking to the Bangladesh Post, Prof Dr Mynuzzaman, former chairman of Physical Medicine department of BSMMU, echoed the same as Prof Dr Pran Gopal Dutta and said that proposed law would help ensure proper treatment and proper medical education in the private medical and dental colleges.
According to the proposed law, a private medical or dental college must have at least 50 students while its teacher-student ratio will have to be 1:10. A medical college needs to have at least two acres of land in any metropolitan area while the land requirement for the dental college is one acre for setting up a medical college outside any metropolitan area. The medical and dental colleges will have to be affiliated with any public university.
The proposed law also says that a medical college must have 100,000 square feet of space for academic purposes and another 100,000 square feet of space for hospital. For a dental college, the hospital space has to be 50,000 square feet each. The authorities concerned will inspect such colleges and hospitals from time to time.
As per the proposed law, for a medical college, an amount of Tk 3 crore will have to be deposited with any commercial bank and Tk 2 crore for any dental college as reserve funds.
The government will fix the academic fees for medical and dental colleges. Besides, private medical college or dental college authorities will have to dispose of their wastes in a scientific manner, said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.
In the case of violation of the law, the maximum punishment will be two years of imprisonment or a fine of Tk 10 lakh or both.