Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Re-thinking on medical admission for science and healthcare

India’s population now exceeds 100 crores and the big challenge before the Government is to provide basic healthcareto all segments of the society. In spite of the economic and technological developments and the huge investments made in the medical education sector, the doctor patient ratio is extremely low in our country, compared to that in developed countries. We need professionally qualified and competent doctors to fill gap. Therefore, it is the need of thehour to develop a comprehensive medical education policy binding to the whole country, and more investment is to be pumped into the medical education sector. But the current realities are quite dismal.

Many students who pass out from the medical colleges are ill-equipped to treat patients. This scenario has emerged with the introduction of capitation fee for medical admission, which is now a deeprooted malaise in medical admission all over the country. Students with no calibre, aptitude or interest get into the medical profession either due to the funds they command or due to parental compulsion.

Only a few with merit, talent and aptitude for the medical profession get a chance to enter the portals of the medical colleges. It is quite unfortunate that in some states, the minimum marks for the qualifying examination have been lowered, in spite of the IMC directives otherwise.
Students who get into the medical profession in the merit category through the medical entrance examination are, no doubt, competent enough to get into the system and will come out as qualified professionals. Due to their interest in the profession, they take the risk of even undergoing rigorous coaching for one more year to fulfil their dreams.

Another fact is that we cannot do away with the reservation quota due to our complex socioeconomic realities. However, it is time to have a rethink on the procedure for admission into our medical colleges. There are two pertinent reasons for this. Now we mourn the declining
quality of students who opt for conventional degree courses, and, as already mentioned, many opt for medical education because of parental pressure or due to some other reasons. In order to get around these situations, we need to think of revising the mode of admission to the medical course. In many developed countries, students opt for medical education after their pre-med or
graduation, and the age of entry is usually 21 years. Here, immediately after their +2, at the age of 17 or 18 years, students choose the course without understanding the responsibilities and
commitments that are needed for the profession.

If we decide to fix any degree in science, with biology as one of the subjects in +2, as the minimum qualification for admission to the medical course, it will serve two purposes. First, many good students will come for basic degree.

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