Students pursuing nursing diplomas at government medical colleges decided to temporarily call off their protest after holding talks with officials of the health department on Monday evening.

The students had launched a State-wide protest a week ago, demanding job security.

Student representatives met health secretary J. Radhakrishnan on Monday evening. “We have decided to temporarily withdraw the protest after officials assured us they would look into our demands and arrive at a solution within a month,” said a student.

One of the main contentions of the students was the government order that gave nurses from both government and private colleges equality in job opportunities. The students of government colleges wanted to be prioritised for government jobs, as they had gained admissions through merit.

Official sources said a permanent committee with student and staff representatives would be formed for regular dialogue on various issues. “If any kind of prioritisation is to be brought in, it can be examined only within the law. The committee can work out modalities within the legal framework,” an official said.

Officials also said the students are happy that the Chief Minister has announced the extension of a stipend to all government nursing students. For several years, only 645 students were getting the stipend even though the number of seats is now 2,000.

Officials have also assured students that they would look into other requirements, including better infrastructure and basic amenities, visiting hours at hostels and use of mobile phones.

Last week, the students met the health minister and officials of the department but refused to withdraw their protest as they wanted a written assurance that their demands would be looked into.

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