Their parents spent a fortune to send them to CARe Medical College. They now face an uncertain future

Md Abdullah from Cox’s Bazar has been admitted to college to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. But within a year, cracks began to appear in the path of his ambition due to the mismanagement of the authorities of the institution. His father, who works in Saudi Arabia, paid for his studies.

Abdullah said he felt things were going awry when the number of teachers gradually started to dwindle. “We don’t have teachers capable of giving us theoretical and clinical lessons. We don’t have a teacher. We are not given any practical lessons. The hospital doesn’t have enough patients for that. Patients are hired for professional examinations.

As the college is not registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Bangladesh, it cannot enroll trainees, protesters say.

Despite the lack of teachers, laboratories and other facilities, the institution continued to welcome new students. Today, 216 students face a bleak future.

Thursday, there was not a teacher in sight at the establishment.

Under these circumstances, disillusioned students launched their protest on August 6, demanding that they be allowed to move to other medical schools.

CARe received approval from the Ministry of Health to conduct academic activities in 2013 and the institution renewed its license for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 sessions. It also got the green light from the University of Dhaka for its MBBS program and hosted students for the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 sessions.

The ministry, however, banned admissions to CARe in 2017 and imposed some conditions on the establishment in accordance with the 2011 guidelines on the establishment and operation of medical schools.

After the college challenged the decision, the Supreme Court suspended the ministry’s order, allowing the college to continue admitting students.

While the University of Dhaka issues MBBS certificates to CARe students, the lack of recognition from the BMDC deprives them of the opportunity to train as medical interns.

“I don’t know if we will have the possibility of transferring to other medical schools. We sent letters to the General Directorate of Medical Education. We may be able to complete MBBS from another college if they allow us to transfer,” Abdullah said.

The institution lacks adequate facilities such as separate reading rooms and laboratory equipment, the student added. There is also no permanent laboratory technician. The authorities hire outside personnel for professional examinations. College authorities, however, are unfazed by the issues, according to the students.

“Private medical colleges need approval from BMDC and University of Dhaka to operate. We can take the professional exams because the institution has permission from Dhaka University. But the BMDC does not provide us with the registration numbers we need to pursue an internship after the final exam. This is because we don’t have medical approval [studies].”

Silvia said most of the students at the institution come from outside Dhaka. “They charged us Tk 10,000 each for accommodation but when we got here we were put in a hospital ward with beds for patients instead of a hostel. We brought our bedding and other things from home and started to stay there. But one day the hospital authorities asked us to leave around 9 p.m., saying that some people would come to the hospital. They sent us away with our bags and our personal effects.

“Later they arranged for us to stay at Bihari Camp in Mohammadpur. We were a group of around 15-20 students and managed to spend the night there. We came back in the morning. a few weeks later.. After having encountered quite a few difficulties living in the hostel, we found accommodation outside the college.”

The students of the 2015-16 session were supposed to start their internship in November 2021, but they have still not succeeded because the establishment does not have BMDC accreditation.

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