Pune: The medical education throughout the year has been on a roller coaster of new amendments in the field which created many confusions and irked students. The amendments included the introduction of National Exit Test (NEXT), policies for outside Maharashtra students and most likely new syllabus is being introduced for MBBS by the new academic year.
National medical commission
An extensive debate followed over the introduction of National Medical Commission (NMC) which has replaced the oldest regulatory body ‘Medical Council of India’ (MCI). According to the bill makers, the purpose of NMC will be to cure the deficiency in the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. While it will also act as the apex body in the medical field, it will constitute on four boards under-graduate and post-graduate medical education boards, assessment and rating board of medical institutions, board for medical registration.
The medical fraternity expressed unhappiness over this bill and claimed that instead of formulating a new bill, certain revolutionary reforms could be made in the existing MCI Act.
One of the major revolutionary clauses of this new bill was an exit examination which has to be undertaken by all MBBS students to get practicing licence.
One of the amendments that called for most of criticism from students to activists was the introduction of National Exit Test (NEXT).
The Central government had claimed that the purpose of introducing NEXT is to improve the quality of medical education in government and private medical colleges as it will be an outcome-based test.
Around 12 States including Maharashtra and four Union territories (UT) have approved to make NEXT mandatory for students of MBBS so far. Although, some States have expressed their resentment about the implementation and have stated it is not necessary, the exam is likely to be implemented from the new academic year.
Many students across the country had objected and protested on the implementation of NEXT stating it to be unfair, as already they go through an extensive study course of five and half years. The students further went on to slam the government for neglecting the infrastructure of medical facilities and focusing upon amendments in medical education instead. While activists and professors had stated that the exit exam will only burden medical students and questioned whether only one exit test can prove if they are eligible doctors or not.
State GR on rural posting
Another resolution passed by the Maharashtra government directing medical students of compulsory one-year bond service at government hospitals in rural areas, otherwise, they will not get admission in MD/MS course had infuriated students and doctors across the State.
The State medical education department had stated that those getting admissions in government colleges are liable to undertake minimum one year of rural posting. The government has come out with this decision in the wake of a lesser number of students completing the one-year bond service and to retain doctors in government hospitals. It also stated that whoever violates this regulation will have to pay a penalty which is Rs 10 lakh for an MBBS doctor, Rs 50 lakh for a post-graduate and Rs
2 crore for the super-specialty doctor.
Students had claimed the reason for not taking up rural posting immediately after their MBBS course, was that immediately after completion of MBBS course, they would have to start preparing for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-post graduate (NEET-PG) which consists of a vast portion and requires intensive study. While the doctors raised concerns that students opting for medical studies in post graduation will choose to go to other states or abroad for completion of their course due to this compulsion.
Apart from these, there were many protests carried out against the Maharashtra government capping the admission of students in medical education in the State by allowing only domicile holders to seek admission in Maharashtra government-run medical colleges. Parents and students had come down on the streets protesting on the unprecedented fee structure of private medical colleges.