Medical seat criteria may be weakened

The proposal is open for comments till February 15.

Hyderabad: The rule governing medical colleges is sought to be amended by the Board of Governors of the Medical Council of India. Medical colleges which have less faculty and staff when compared to the number of seats will be allowed to continue under certain conditions, according to an amendment forwarded by the Board of Governors to the health ministry.

The amendment states that if colleges fall short of fulfilling norms such as faculty and hospital beds, they must be allowed to operate if they have the strength to support a smaller number of seats. This means that the mandated requirement of 250 or 200 students per class will be eased and a bar of 100 or 150 will be set so that colleges can continue to run with fewer students. The proposal is open for comments till February 15.

The current practice is for the medical colleges to be barred from accepting students if they do not have the faculty or supporting infrastructure.

The medical fraternity is divided in its opinion with one group stating that this move will help to deal with the shortage of doctors and the other insisting that quality may be compromised in the long run.

Indian Medical Association vice-president Dr Narsinga Reddy said, “There is no rationale behind this amendment. It is well-established that it is not financially viable to run a college with less than 150 students in each batch. Students who join these colleges will have to compromise with the quality of teaching, staff and infrastructure.”

There are others of the opinion that the amendment will help address the issue of shortage of doctors. Dr K.K. Aggarwal, past president of IMA, explained that the proposed amendment would open the doors for many MBBS aspirants who are looking at options overseas.

The question being raised is of allowing poorly equipped medical colleges in terms of faculty, infrastructure and patients to run, which will compromise the quality of bedside learning. The question in medical teaching is the Right to Life and this was pointed out by the Supreme Court while cancelling admissions pertaining to underequipped colleges in the past. The amendment is being seen as a measure where the substandard clause will be done away with and the new rule will pave the way for maintaining a standard for the number of students enrolled.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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