After considering scrapping and replacing MCI, the Indian government is considering to introduce a rating system for medical colleges to help students make informed decisions about choosing a medical college at UG and PG level.
The current government has shown its intentions to revamp the medical education system in India. After considering to scrap the Medical Council of India, which is governed by the sorry state of affairs and inefficiency, the central government is soon to introduce a rating system for medical institutions. The aim here is to improve the quality of education besides helping students in making informed decisions about choosing a medical college at the undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Besides this, the system is also expected to work as a warning system to poorly rated colleges to improve the quality of education and better the infrastructure required. Not only is this, but the rating system is also intended to end the inspection system that spread and become popular under the Medical Council of India (MCI).
The periodic rating expected to come into vogue soon and would be assigned to the newly proposed National Medical Commission of India, which is to replace MCI. The need for the rating system was felt as the existing inspection system focused and emphasised more on the infrastructure related issues than the quality of teaching and learning outcomes that are more crucial and detrimental factors instead.
As soon as the new system comes into the vogue, medical colleges and institutions will be required to place all the relevant information on the public domain via an electronic medium to make it easily available and accessible to all. This plan is the part of the reform that a high-power committee headed by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya recommended to the central government. It is the same committee that has recommended for scrapping and replacing the MCI altogether with a new setup to nurse the medical education at the earliest.
The panel under Arvind Panagariya has also recommended for a separate common entrance examination – National Eligibility cum Entrance Test or NEET – for admission to undergraduate and postgraduate courses in medical colleges throughout the country. As per the panel, the exam should be given a statutory backing to allocate the seats in medical colleges – government funded and privately owned – across the India. Merit in the exam is recommended as the only way to allocated seats for MMBS and BDS courses than the ability to capitation fee.
As per the new recommendation, students have to appear for a common licentiate examination once they complete an undergraduate course. The possibility of central government recommending skill tests as the part of the exam getting statutory backing also remains high. Passing the common licentiate examination will be compulsory for licensees to register with the Indian Medical Register and practice it as a profession.
However, committee showed its reservations for recommending and creating a common licentiate examination for the super speciality and PG courses. In this case, the PG medical education board, which is expected to replace National Board of Examination (NBE), will continue to function as an authority to conduct a voluntary test with candidates and institutions who wish to take part.
One of the biggest issues that the committee is face to face with is the fee regulation of the private medical colleges. Arvind Panagariya panel tried to deal with the high cost of medical education, which is considered as the bone of contention, recommending to power NMC to fix the norms of regulating fees for the proportion (not to exceed 40 percent in any case) of the seats in the non-government medical colleges. For the rest, medical institutions should be given full freedom to charge the fee they may consider appropriate.
The aim to boost the medical education in India, which was marred by the sorry state of affair at MCI, inability to exert its authority and inefficiency put the need for a rating system for medical colleges. A complete revamp in the medical colleges is what many deem is necessary to provide more, rather better, opportunities for students to flourish as future medical professionals.
On the other hand, the rating system for the medical systems, setting fee structure, single entrance test (like NEET) and other prerequisites are expected to keep things in order and better the standards of medical education. However, this seems just the beginning to revamp the current scenario prevalent in the medical education system. From the core of our heart, we believe that a lot more still remains incomplete to boost the medical education in India. Hope for the government to take other crucial parts into consideration and deal with them soon with better plans and resource.