Medical colleges are passé. Nursing is in and is emerging as an instant passport to foreign jobs.
To cash in, at least 12 organisations have applied to start private nursing colleges in the state in the last six months, when, in the last five years, there had not been a single such application. Since 2006, the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) has not received any request to start a medical college either. Sources said about half the applicants have political backgrounds.
The sudden stampede for nursing colleges is triggered by a global rush for Indian nurses. The US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have started wooing nurses with pay packets, facilities and easier visa norms. By 2020, the UK will have a shortage of one lakh nurses while the US will need eight lakh of them. At present, India needs 10 lakh more nurses.
“There are 81 nursing colleges in the state. Till recently, we got applications for medical colleges. Suddenly we are flooded with applications for nursing colleges,” said Amitava Chandra, principal secretary, DMER and Drugs.
However, there is a problem. “There are no teachers. Most experienced nurses have migrated to countries with better pay and facilities,” said Anita Deodhar, state president of Trained Nurses’ Association of India.
Nurses are favoured in the marriage market too. “In Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, men want to marry nurses because it ensures migration,” said Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO, Bharatmatrimo-ny.com.