The Rot in India's Medical Education System

Oxford Medical College Hospital & Research Centre BengaluruThe Oxford Medical College, Hospital & Research Centre in Bangalore is among the 20 colleges that were refused renewal of permission  to start new MBBS batches in 2015 - 2016. Image courtesy: www.theoxford.edu

Even though many colleges have been declared unfit for providing medical education, the Medical Council of India (MCI) continues to certify these MBBS students. Over 10,000 students continue to be a part of such new colleges in the country and these institutions suffer from a shortage of the most basic facilities.

The MCI has found 99% shortage of resident doctors and deficiency of over 57% teaching faculty in these colleges. Besides this, absence of major operation on assessment day, bed occupancy of just 10.36% and no patient in the ICU of NRI Institute of Medical Sciences in Visakhapatnam are some factors which makes one wonder why certifications are still being done.

The regulator conducts inspections for checking if it can give permission to colleges for admitting new students. However, an institute can only be given recognition for the fourth time. In case an institute is said to be unfit by the education regulator, the state government must create facilities for students. MCI secretary Dr Reena Nayyar opined that they are following provisions of Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and that the state governments should take quick action in such cases as MCI will not allow shifting of students.

Another issue is the quality and training provided to students through such institutes. Additionally, the "understanding" between state governments and the private medical colleges is a big problem. Even though the MCI has suggested that admissions to such institutes be stopped, the state governments have been tardy on this front. This slow action results in producing unqualified doctors causing injustice to students.

There is an insistence from MCI on shutting down such kind of colleges and only then permitting students to shift to another college in case an institution fails an inspection. This is a matter of serious concern to students and over 40 to 50 batches of students are still a part of such colleges that have not got the nod of MCI for admitting students for the second, third and fourth batches.

There are 29 medical colleges who were refused renewal of permission for admitting fresh batches in 2015-2016 according to MCI. This includes Government Medical College, Bettiah, West Champaran, Bihar, having three batches of students, which wasn't permitted to take students from next batch as it did not meet minimum requirements of infrastructure.

Other medical colleges include Srinivas Institute of Medical Research Centre (Srinivasnagar), Viswabharathi Medical College (Kurnool), Gold Field Institute of Medical Sciences & Research (Faridabad), Lord Buddha Koshi Medical College & Hospital (Saharsa) as well as The Oxford Medical College, Hospital & Research Centre, (Bengaluru).

The situation is quite bad in many recognized colleges which despite initial approval, failed to create faculty, residents as well as clinical materials for successive years as the batch progressed. All this puts a critical part in place that the opening as well as running of a medical college needs to be rechecked if the careers and future of millions of students should be safe in future.

The bigger problem is that annual inspections are done by MCI for four years before making a final recommendation of a college to the Central government. This means that even if the college doesn't succeed in the second and third inspection but passes the fourth, MCI will give a positive recommendation to the Centre. The state government should get caution money from MCI and create facilities.

Acquiring medical education is an aspiration for millions of Indian students across the country and such incidents will only act as a deterrent and affects them in pursuing this stream.

The promoters of such medical colleges have an entirely different viewpoint on the matter. They feel that barring a college will result in deterioration of its reputation as employees get insecure & leave thus affecting the current students.

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