How costly is medical education?

Bhrikuti Rai / August 2, 2016

Dr Bhola Rijal Source: ECS Channel/

Dr Bhola Rijal                                                                                                              Source: ECS Channel/

During an interview with BBC Nepali radio last week, Dr Bhola Rijal, the chairman of the Association of Private Medical and Dental Colleges of Nepal, made the following statement defending the expensive fee in Nepal’s medical schools:

“Medical education is very expensive all over the world. In India one has to pay 6 million Indian rupees and in the US they take in 60 students and charge $200,000 [per student].”

South Asia Check has examined whether the cost of medical education in Nepal is cheaper or expensive compared to several countries.

In order to compare how expensive medical schools are, we looked into the latest costs at such schools in Nepal, US, Russia, India and some European countries.

Kathmandu Medical College (KMC) in Kathmandu charged about 4.5 million rupees for MBBS in 2014- 2015 session. After the Mathema report came out last year KMC has reduced fee for the MBBS course to Rs 3.5 million. Whereas Maharajgunj Medical Campus under the Tribhuvan University’s Institute of Medicine charges 3,466,827 rupees for the entire MBBS course.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, Tufts University, which is the most expensive private medical college in the US, charges $63,321 per year while Baylor College of Medicine, the cheapest private medical school, charges $21,950 annually. Similarly, among public medical schools, Virginia University is the most expensive with $50,648 annual fee while the least expensive, the University of Puerto Rico, charges $15,401 per year. These fees are for post-graduate degrees.

Higher education is free in several European countries. For instance, in Norwegian University of Science and Technology, its six-year-long medical degree is free of cost. However in some countries medical schools charge certain fees. In Heidelberg University in Germany, its six years and three months long medicine course costs 142.30 euros per semester. Similarly the University of Tartu in Estonia charges 11,000 euros per year for its six-year medicine degree. In Russia too, the annual fees for a medical degree vary between US$2000 and US$5300.

In India, the cost varies from one state to another. For instance, Shri Ram Chandra Medical College in Chennai in Tamil Nadu state charges IRs 1.5 million annually for its five and a half years long MMBS course. Whereas in Kerala, students under government quota can study MBBS at private medical colleges for IRs 70,000 annually while others have to pay IRs 575,000 annually for the same course.

Medical education in Nepal is cheaper compared to some countries while it is expensive compared to others. Therefore, Dr Bhola Rijal’s claim that medical education is expensive everywhere in the world is incorrect.

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