This Article is From Oct 07, 2023

Ground Report: 3-Room Nursing College In Madhya Pradesh Exposes A Larger Problem

NDTV found that one faculty member teaches in 10 colleges in three cities - as the principal of some colleges and as an associate professor in others.

The college is run by a former director of medical education.


Even as the Central Bureau of Investigation is probing over 600 nursing colleges in Madhya Pradesh after it was found that many such institutions were running without proper faculty or infrastructure, NDTV visited one such college in the state's capital and found that the claims were indeed true. 

What makes this particular college so problematic, and symptomatic of a much larger issue, is that it is run by a former director of medical education - the person charged with ensuring that such institutions maintain the highest standards.

The recognition of 19 such institutions was cancelled in August amid allegations of 'ghost' nursing colleges being run in the state. The next month, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had ordered a CBI investigation into all 670 nursing colleges registered in the state in 2020-21.

College Or House?

NDTV visited the Savita Institute Of Health Science in Bhopal's Data Colony and found that the college is being run out of just one floor of a three-storey residential building. The college, run by NM Srivastava - a former director of medical education in Madhya Pradesh - offers a B.Sc in Nursing as well as a diploma course. 

Entering the building, the first thing one notices is a paper pasted on the wall listing the numbers to call if no one from the college is around. The ground floor and the second floor are home to residents and the college is run out of just the first floor. 

To register as a nursing college, an institution needs to have an area of 23,000 square feet, a certain number of faculty members, a mess, library and a 100-bed hospital. The Savita Institute has a grand total of three rooms.

Finding nobody in the college, when NDTV called one of the numbers on the paper, we were told that two of those rooms had laboratories and that the institute used to be run out of the entire building at one point. The person also claimed that they had a tie-up with a hospital for training, which is against the rules, if it is true. 

Shockingly, the college was started in 2015-16 and at least four batches have graduated from it since, raising questions about the training received by some of the nurses working in hospitals. The last batch was inducted in 2020 and no new students have been admitted because it is being investigated.

Future In Jeopardy

The last batch of students in the college have been in the first year for three years because no exams have been held. NDTV attended a protest by students of the Savita Institute and other such colleges and heard heartbreaking stories of institutes toying with their future. 

Some students said the same one or two faculty members teach in as many as 15 colleges and several colleges have held no exams for years. During NDTV's investigation, we found that one James Thomas teaches in 10 colleges in Bhopal, Gwalior and Jabalpur, and is the principal of some colleges and an associate professor in others. 

Two other faculty members, Kumari Leena and Vishnu Kumar Swarnakar, teach in 18 and 15 colleges, respectively. 

Some students said they have taken jobs at call centres and petrol pumps to make ends meet while they endure the interminable wait to graduate. 

Ajay Rajak, a nursing college student, said, "We live in the city on rent and pay loans. There is a lot of pressure if there is no exam. It is a four-year degree. it has been three years and the first-year exam has still not been held.

Another student, Himanshu Shekhar, said, "The education department needs to promote the first- and second-year students and hold the third-year exams. Playing with our future will not work."

Investigating agencies have also found that many colleges have no faculty, impart no training whatsoever and just hand out certificates to students, jeopardising the well-being of patients as well. 

What Ministers Said

When Madhya Pradesh Health Minister Prabhuram Choudhary was asked about what the government is doing to ensure that the people of the state get good, qualified nurses, he said, "We are working to improve things all the time. We have increased hiring of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff."

Asked specifically about the nursing college scam, he said the matter is sub-judice and it would not be appropriate to comment on it.

Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang also said that the matter is before the courts and it would not be right to comment.