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`Professors on call' the lifeline of many a private medical college

Rasheed Kappan

These doctors land at the institutions a day before MCI inspection

BANGALORE: For many private medical colleges in the State, shortage of professors is a serious problem. While the Medical Council of India (MCI) has this year approved only one new government college in Bidar and rejected five other government institutions citing the problem of faculty shortage, some select private colleges have allegedly roped in "professors on call" to hoodwink the MCI inspectors.

The MCI's rejection of five government colleges — three approved last year and two proposed for this year — comes as a shock to thousands of Common Entrance Test (CET) candidates who were promised 600 more MBBS seats at a subsidised government fee of Rs. 16,200 a year. The colleges denied approval will get one more chance, if they address the problem of faculty shortage and get the MCI green signal by July 31, highly placed sources told The Hindu. The MCI, however, has given the go-ahead for the Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences. Yet, as the Government finds it hard to get past the MCI rules, select private colleges are kept afloat by the "professors on call." A breed apart, They are all across the town, practising in hospitals and clinics. But they are also on the payrolls of medical colleges, flying to the institution a day before the MCI lands for an inspection.

"These on-call professors are paid hefty sums. to show their presence. There are professors of forensic medicine who charge nearly a lakh a month. As much as 30 per cent of the money is white, the rest is black," a professor and department head attached to a city-based government hospital said. This was also confirmed by a top official of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences.

Inquiries revealed that there are four categories of teachers in a college: permanent faculty who take regular, daily classes; weekly professors who appear to take one class in a week and disappear; monthly professors who sign the attendance register once a month and may or may not take a class before vanishing and an exclusive class of MCI professors whose only job is to make a presence in the college before every MCI inspection. The council condones up to five per cent shortage, nothing more.

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