PUNE: Medical aspirants are now facing two problems: The government has made National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) mandatory for students who wish to pursue medical courses in foreign universities.
The rule, according to the notification, will be implemented from May 2018. Further, the upper age limit to be eligible for NEET has been made 25 years. This has put a question mark for those taking up medical education abroad after crossing 25 years. Such students may not be able to practise in India after completing their courses overseas.
“There is no issue with making NEET mandatory, but the problem lies in the eligibility criteria. The upper age limit is 25 years for a medical candidate to take NEET in India, whereas there is no age limit to pursue medical education overseas. Now, by making NEET compulsory, the students who would want to pursue medical courses later will be unable to do so,” said Dr Amit Gupta, education reformer and NEET activist.
Dr Gupta said, “The government should understand why students are going abroad. It is because of the feasibility at foreign universities, which in India is unlikely due to privatisation of medical education.”
Durgesh Mangeshkar, founder of IITian Prashikshan Kendra validated the reason cited by the government, saying many students going abroad for medical education are actually not well-qualified to practise their profession here once they return.
“There are a few fraudulent universities overseas which admit students, and the education they impart is not up to the mark. In this case, it is necessary to recognise quality students. If we look at the result chart of NEET 2013, the cut-off was 98 out of 720 marks, whereas in 2017 it was 130 marks out of 720 marks. With such low pass percentage of medical aspirants, the situation seems difficult, especially when in India we require qualified and quality doctors. If a medical aspirant is unable to score good marks in eligibility test, how can they be good and knowledgeable doctors,” asked Mangeshkar.
“However, the upper age limit criteria for NEET remains a big question. The government will have to rectify this, as it will leave students who wish to pursue medical education later in a lurch,” added Mangeshkar.
A medical student said, “It is true many who come from foreign universities actually struggle to qualify the screening test in India. A colleague who had a degree from a Russian University three years back was yet to clear the screening test here. At times it takes 9 to 10 years before foreign-educated students start practising here. The main reason why many students prefer studying medicine abroad is because they have better fee structure compared to India, wherein it has to be paid together at the beginning of the academics. However, instead of coming up with new policies every time, the government should expand the number of government medical colleges and stop promoting privatisation.”
AMEND SCREENING TEST REGULATIONS
- Approving the proposal of Medical Council of India (MCI) to amend the Screening Test Regulations, 2002, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday said it will be mandatory to qualify NEET to pursue a foreign medical course.
- Indian students have to qualify a screening test called Foreign Medical Graduates Exam (FMGE), for registration to practise in India after obtaining primary medical qualification overseas.