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Course Description

Exit test for ‘Dr’ Tag

An exit exam for medical students at the MBBS level has been proposed – a move that health experts say is essential. A draft prepared by the health ministry of the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2016 recommends an exit exam at the MBBS level, combined counselling at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and reservations of up to 50% of the seats of the postgraduate courses for medical officers.

Section 10E, to be added to the Indian Medical Council Act 1956, proposes a uniform national exit test (NEXT) be conducted for all medical institutions at the undergraduate level. NEXT will replace the uniform entrance exam at the postgraduate level. Suggestions on the feasibility of the draft were invited till January 6.

An exit test is “an essential tool for meeting the basic objectives of quality and safe physicians for the society,” given the vast diversity of medical institutions in the country offering medical education of variable standards, says Dr Bipin Batra, executive director, National Board of Examinations. The test is likely to be at the level of an MBBS final exam to assess the basic knowledge and skills of a medical graduate.

According to Dr Arun Kumar Agarwal, former president, Delhi Medical Council, the concept of an exit exam was mooted about six years ago to improve the quality of fresh MBBS graduates in India. He is also of the opinion that this exam should replace the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) as well as the Foreign Medical Graduates Exam (FMGE) as the candidates should not appear for such an examination more than once during the MBBS phase.

Asked if the exit exam can replace any of the existing exams or entrance tests, Dr Batra says, “It will be an ideal scenario if one exam in the early phase of internship is used as the exit test and the performance is used as a grading tool for ranking the medical graduates for entry to PG residency programmes.” The same exam can be applicable for foreign and Indian medical graduates. The United States Medical Licensing Examination administered by Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates is a similar test used for licensing as well entry to residency programmes for domestic as well as foreign medical graduates.”

There will be no impact on foreign medical graduates if the exit exam is introduced. There will be no change for their licensing requirements. “Currently, they write the FMGE screening test, which in all likelihood will be subsumed as the exit test, bringing parity between the Indian and foreign medical graduates,” adds Dr Batra.

Implementing NEXT will also put pre-PG coaching institutes at an advantage, say doctors. Will that be a good thing? Not likely, says Dr Manish C Prabhakar, president, Indian Medical Association Young Doctors’ Wing. Instead of churning out better doctors, India will produce more of medical graduates only with less clinical skill because of the burden of too many exams.

Only, 2,700 to 3,000 vacancies exist in primary and community health centres in rural areas, while more than 60,000 MBBS graduates clear the exam every year, says Dr Prabhakar. “Therefore, majority of the students will spend their time in coaching classes or in the library or studying at home; in a country where the doctor-patient ratio is already so low. NEXT is an indirect way to pressurise the doctors to go for the rural postings,” he adds.

The proposed bill also seeks to introduce common counselling for undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) medical students. Counselling for 15% all-India quota seats at the UG level and 50% all-India quota seats at the PG level will be conducted by the Directorate General of Health Services and for remaining seats including private colleges and private/deemed universities at both levels will be conducted.

Common counselling is already implemented for National Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Technology. Experts say such a concept for medical students will be a good idea. Medical graduates across the country have applauded the Central government’s proposal to conduct common counselling and the Delhi Medical Association has also supported it, apart from the Supreme Court upholding it. Common counselling at UG, PG and super specialty levels is needed to allay candidates’ anxiety about participating in multiple seat allocation processes conducted at institution or deemed university levels. “It will also ensure fair play and equity of access of seats to all aspiring candidates on a common platform,” adds Dr Batra.

The wastage of seats due to multiple admission processes running concurrently and variable criterion used for admissions will be minimised and boost chances of candidates getting admission only on merit. As Dr Agarwal says, “Common counselling is the only solution, otherwise there will be lot of confusion among students. It will also help those seeking admission at the PG level.”

 NEET UG 2017: all you need to know about the admission process

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will conduct the test on May 7, 2017

 

Candidates will get maximum three attempts for NEET UG.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)Aspiring doctors will have just one chance to get a seat in a medical college this year through National Eligibility cum Entrance Test Undergraduate (UG) 2017 (NEET-UG). The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will conduct the test on May 7, 2017 as per regulations framed under the Indian Medical Council Act 1956 (amended in 2016) and the Dentists Act 1948 (amended in 2016). Admissions in 100% seats of MBBS/BDS will be done in medical/dental colleges run with the approval of Medical Council of India/Dental Council of India under the ministry of health and family welfare. However, institutions established through an Act of Parliament i.e. AIIMS and JIPMER Puducherry, will not participate in NEET UG this year.

Besides conducting the test, the CBSE will declare the result and prepare an all-India rank list for the candidates in percentile rank. This will be given to the Directorate General of Health Services, New Delhi for counselling of 15% all-India quota seats and providing the result to the state counselling authorities and admitting institutions.

Candidates must be 17 years old at the time of admission. The upper age limit for NEET-UG is 25 years as on the date of examination for general category candidates.

Candidates will get maximum three attempts for NEET UG. As per the notice and information bulletin, it was prescribed that the candidates who have already availed permissible three attempts will not be able to apply for NEET 2017. However, the CBSE has issued a clarification on the matter. The Department of Health and Family Welfare, government of India, and Medical Council of India have clarified that “attempts made by candidates for AIPMT/NEET prior to 2017 will not be counted. NEET 2017 will be counted as the first attempt for all candidates, irrespective of their previous attempts in AIPMT/NEET,” said an official statement from CBSE.

All candidates who could not fill up the application form due to the condition of three attempts at AIPMT/NEET will now be able to fill up their application form.

Domicile students of different states who have done their schooling from another state are eligible for admission in state medical colleges if they are ranked in the all-India merit list. For instance, if a student who has completed his schooling from Delhi and is a domicile of West Bengal seeking admission in a college of the state can apply in the state colleges. “The student will have to prove his domicile candidature with necessary documents such as proof of residence of his parents. Once the CBSE shares the list of qualified candidates from our state, we will consider their eligibility,” said a spokesperson from the Directorate of Medical Education, West Bengal.

The counselling for admission in seats under the control of other states/universities/institutions will be conducted as per the notifications issued separately by the authorities concerned. Candidates applying to state government colleges will be admitted subject to rules and regulations framed by the respective state governments.

It is necessary for a candidate to obtain minimum of marks at 50th percentile in NEET for 2017-18. The percentile will be determined on the basis of highest marks secured in the all-India common merit list. A percentile rank is the percentage of score that fall below a given score in a group. NEET results are likely to be declared on June 8, 2017.

For 15% all-India quota seats, counseling will be conducted by the Directorate General of Health Services. For seats under the control of states/universities/institutions, their respective authorities will conduct the counseling.

 

NEET 2017 (OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED) 

“This article is updated post NEET 2017 notification is officially announced on 31st January 2017”

 

NEET 2017 (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) is a single window entrance exam for 52,304 MBBS & BDS seats in the private & govt. medical colleges of India (except AIIMS & JIMPER). As per Hon. Supreme Court order from 2016 the AIPMT is now changed to NEET. There were lot of orders by Supreme Court in the NEET 2016-17 academic year admission process and much clarity has come now for the NEET 2017-18 academic year.

 

NEET 2017 Eligibility Criteria to appear (New Criteria introduced)

  • Candidate should have completed 17 years of age as on 31st Dec 2017
  • Candidate should have Indian nationality or be overseas citizen of India (OCI)
  • Age Limit (New Criteria which has changed again on 31.03.2017)
    • No Age Limit (as per Supreme Court order on 31st March, 2017). Age Limit of 25 years for General Category and 30 years for other categories has been removed.
  • NEW CRITERIA OF RESTRICTED ATTEMPTS INTRODUCED:The number of attempts which a candidate can avail at NEET-UG examination shall be limited to 3 (three) uniformly to all the candidates. However as per new notification on 3rd Feb, 2017, writing NEET 2017 will be counted as FIRST ATTEMPT. It means everyone can give NEET exam in 2017 irresepctive of their number of attempt in the past. 
  • Indian Nationals, Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Oversees Citizen of India (OCIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) & Foreign Nationals are eligible to appear in NEET (UG)-2017.
  • Candidates should have scored minimum 50% marks in class 12th PCB (Physics, Chemistry, Biology). For SC/ST/OBC, minimum marks in class 12th PCB should be 45%.

NEET 2017 Elgibility criteria for seats under the control of states/universities/institution/AFMC/Central Pool Quota

  • Indian Nationals, Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Oversees Citizen of India (OCIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) & Foreign Nationals are eligible for admission in Medical/Dental Colleges subject to rules and regulations framed by the respective State Governments, Institution and the Government of India.
  • Foreign nationals may confirm their eligibility from the concerned Medical/Dentals college/state

NEET 2017 Elgibility criteria for 15% All India Quota Seats

  • Indian Nationals, Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Oversees Citizen of India (OCIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) & Foreign Nationals are eligible for 15% All India Quota Seats
  • Candidates from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K):
    • Students from the States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and J & K are NOT ELIGIBLE for 15% all India quota seatsas these States had opted out of All India Scheme since its inception. If they claim eligibility, they must submit online Self Declaration which will be generated and printed automatically along with confirmation page for the record and to present during counselling.
    • Candidates from the States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and J & K can appear in NEET (UG) for admission to Private Medical/Dental Colleges or any Private/Deemed University and Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune subject to the fulfilment of eligibility conditions.

 

NEET 2017 Important Dates (FINAL RELEASED)

 

Events Dates
NEET 2017 Application Form Release Jan 31, 2017
NEET 2017 Application Form Last date to Submit March 1, 2017
NEET 2017 Application Fees Last Date Jan 31 to March 1, 2017
Admit Card Uploading Date Apr 15, 2017
NEET 2017 Exam Date May 7, 2017
Answer Sheet Downloading 4th week of May 2017
NEET 2017 Exam Result June 08, 2017

 

NEET 2017 exam language & centres

  • Hindi
  • English
  • Assamese
  • Bengali
  • Gujarati
  • Marathi
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Kannada (Added Recently)
  • Odiya (Added Recently)

 

 

NEET 2017 Admission & Reservation

 

Reservation of Seats in government medical colleges under 15% All India Quota

  • 15% seats are reserved for SC candidates
  • 5% seats are reserved for ST candidates
  • 27% seats as per Central Act are reserved for non-creamy layer OBC candidates only in Central Educational Institutions. Reservation would be applicable to the castes mentioned in the Central list of OBC. Thus, the candidates falling in this list may mention OBC-NCL in the Category Column in application form. Candidates from creamy layer and those who do not come under Central List of OBC are advised to mention their category as Unreserved (UR)
  • Differently abled candidates as per MCI guidelines are: PH-1: Candidates with locomotor disability of lower limbs from 50% to 70% PH-2: Candidates with locomotor disability of lower limbs from 40% to less than 50% 3% seats are reserved on horizontal basis for Physically Handicapped candidates (only for locomotor disabilities of lower limbs between 50% to 70%, provided that in case any seat in this 3% quota remains unfilled on account of unavailability of candidates with locomotor disability of lower limbs between 50% to 70% then any such unfilled seat in this 3% quota shall be filled up by persons with locomotor disability of lower limbs between 40% to 50% before they are included in the seats of respective category, as per Certificate of Locomotor Disability) in 15% All India UG quota seat. Candidates who considered themselves eligible for this category are advised to ensure their eligibility by getting themselves examined at any Government Medical College/District Hospital/Government Hospital. However, candidates may kindly note that in case of selection under PH category, they will be required to produce Disability Certificate from one of the disability assessment boards, constituted at the four metro cities, mentioned below, before their scheduled date of counselling:
    • Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, Ansari Nagar, Ring Road, New Delhi-110029 (Tel No.011-26190763 & 26163072)
    • All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hazi Ali Park, K. Khadya Marg, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai-400034 (Tel No.022-23544341)
    • Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research, 244, Acharya J.C. Bose Marg, Kolkata-20 (Tel No.033-22235181)
    • Madras Medical College, Park Town, Chennai-600003 (Tel No.044-25305301)

 

How to apply in NEET 2017

  • Candidates can apply ONLY ONLINE only
  • Aadhar Card is made mandatory to apply for NEET 2017
  • Online submission of application link – cbseneet.nic.in
  • Application fees for General/OBC – Rs. 1,400
  • Application fees for SC/ST/PH category students – Rs. 750

 

 

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Important points to note for overall medical admission process from the year 2017:

 

 

  1. All government & private medical college will take admission via NEET scores only (except AIIMS & JIPMER)

 

  1. There will be only 3 medical entrance exams in India from 2017 academic year:

 

 

  1. Except AIIMS (for its 7 campus across the country) & JIPMER (for Puducherry & Karaikal campus) all other private and government medical colleges will take admission via NEET 2017 scores only. No State government (not even Union Territories) led entrance exam will be allowed from 2017. There was an exception given only for year 2016 to some states who took admission via their state medical exams.

 

  1. Private unaided college (which is affiliated to a State University) or a Deemed University including minority colleges like CMC Vellore, CMC (Ludhiana) will be able to take admission via State centralised admission counselling process only which will be conducted by respective states DME department (Directorate of Medical Education) . No separate application or admission process will be conducted by private unaided college or deemed university.

 

E.g – Deemed University like BVP, D.Y Patil will take admission via Maharashtra State medical admission counselling being conducted by DMER.

 

This will help the students to apply at only one place and will save them application cost and hassle to go for individual private college/deemed university admission process all over India.

 

AFMC, AMU and BHU will conduct their own admission counselling process for admission via NEET 2017 scores.

 

  1. In government medical colleges, admission will happen via two ways:

 

  1. 15% of government medical college will be filled by NEET centralised counselling under All India Quota.

 

  1. 85% of government medical college will be filled by State government. These seats can be taken by its State domicile students only.

 

  1. Any quota seats like management quota or NRI quota seats will be filled only via NEET score. Students who apply via these categories will have to give NEET exam. Most probably even these quota seats will be filled via State government admission counselling (though this is not confirmed).

 

  1. Central Government of India has notified that next year 10,000 additional medical seats will be added by improving infrastructure in 58 identified government medical colleges. News Link

 

  1. AIIMS (only Delhi campus) has also increased it seats from 72 to 100 from 2017 (next year). News Link

 

  1. We can expect private medical college association like COMEDK, UPUMCWA etc. to be abolished next year as the State govt. will take the responsibility to fill the seats in private medical college of their states.

 

  1. Though the admission process has been regulated to a higher extent, SC or central government has still not regulated the fees structure of private medical colleges. We will need to wait if we see certain regulations on fees.

 

  1. Some states like Maharashtra has kept the domicile as eligibility criteria to even apply in private medical college but other states have not followed this. We do expect that more states will follow the domicile criteria.

 

 

Hope this give all of the prospective students much clarity on how the admission process for government and private medical college in India will be conducted next year in 2017.

 

Restoring Humanism in Medical Education

The importance of humanities in medical education is being realised across the globe and steps are being taken to introduce it in medical schools. India should not be left behind

Anand Krishnan

Medicine is defined as the art and science of healing. Today globally, science has largely overridden the art part of healing. In India, entrance to medical colleges is based entirely on tests based on scientific facts and concepts with a little of logical/critical thinking – areas handled by the left side of the brain.

Our medical curriculum requires hours of drudgery in trying to remember facts and figures. Almost no medical school in India lays any emphasis on art in medical curriculum. The right side of the brain is concerned with fine arts including imagery, poetry and drawing. As someone said “medical school attracts those who are of left brain, but then proceeds to atrophy what is left of their right brain”.

Unlike physics or chemistry, medicine is not a pure science. Medicine is largely an applied science and it requires certain skills that are developed by observation, practice and experience – similar to the arts more than science. It can be said that medicine is science when it is used to study disease but becomes an art when it is used to practice healing.

While medicine has a long and distinguished history of caring and comforting, the scientific basis of medicine is recent. That medicine is a science is nevertheless the popular belief, and this has been reinforced by the advent of ‘evidence-based medicine’. Scientific truths are not true for all times, unlike truths in the field of the arts. In art there is no right or wrong but only a perspective or a point of view, whereas in medicine one being right or wrong is life determining.

Ideas on causation, diagnosis and management of diseases change with passage of time and advent of new technology or understanding. Even in a given time, one medical practitioner may have a genuinely different opinion of diagnosis and treatment about a particular case with respect to another colleague based on his or her experience and expertise.

With progress of science and its application, there has been a rapid decline in the human element of health care provision. The current technological advances have worsened this divide. The art of clinical medicine is dying in the present set-up with high-tech gadgets. The recent upsurge of doctors being abused and manhandled especially in casualties and emergencies is a consequence of this.

This is occurring not because of their lack of scientific knowledge but is related to their insensitive behaviour which emanates from their ignorance as well as inability to handle the emotional distress of sick individuals and their near and dear ones. Doctors should not allow scientific medicine to blunt their humanity, ignore ethics and the need for empathy.

A typical consultation today is of less than ten minutes and consists of a few cursory questions followed by a long list of investigations and medicines to be taken with poor explanation of whys and hows. Genuine doctor-patient relationships do not exist any longer. In early seventies, when the Framingham Heart study in United States subjects were being recruited through their doctors, most of them opined that while their own physician was a good one, others were no good – clearly an impossible phenomenon! Today in India even that is unlikely. Doctor-patient trust is at its lowest and doctor shopping is blatantly practised.

All doctor-patient interactions, whether these are in a hospital or in the community, require a caring attitude from the doctor coupled with communication. Today science has given doctors far more ammunition than ever before to fight disease, but the repeated bombarding has made them deafer than ever and they can no longer hear the cries of their patients. A good clinician is one who is armed with scientific knowledge, practices using clinical judgment, compassion and understanding.

In India, we need to reverse the pendulum that has swung fully to the science from the art side in medicine. An infusion of arts in medical education might be the solution to this all pervasive deafness of medical professionals. Many medical educationists have argued that art and literature should have a place in the medical curriculum because art helps doctors to understand experiences, illness and human values and that art itself can fulfill a therapeutic role.

This kind of education can help doctors grapple with the kinds of existential questions that they expect their patients to answer and that they themselves may not be equipped to answer. All medical colleges usually have a cinema and literary club. They do little to promote either cinema or literature. There is a need to go beyond these tokenisms and aim for some structural changes in medical education in India.

It is time the Medical Council of India or its newer avatar considers inclusion of arts in the medical curriculum from first year itself. The importance of humanities in medical education is being realised across the globe and steps are being taken to introduce it in medical schools. India should not be left behind.

Today patients in India are being squeezed between incompetence on one side (thanks to a floundering medical education industry) and corruption on the other (thanks to a commission culture set up by drug and investigative industry); and from the top by arrogance of medical professionals. Instilling empathy among medical practitioners may be the best way to start addressing all these malpractices jointly.

Common counselling

Moving towards one India, one exam

After implementing the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical courses at the undergraduate, postgraduate and super specialty levels, the Ministry of Health has announced to  hold common counselling at state level for admission to medical courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Amendments made in the relevant regulations of Medical Council of India require the designated authority at the state/union territory level to do counselling for all medical institutions in the state, including those established by the Central government, state government, university, deemed university, trust, society, company, minority institutions or corporations. The counselling for all-India quota seats at undergraduate and postgraduate levels will continue to be conducted by the Directorate General of Health Services.

Experts say that this move will help make the admission process more transparent and curb the alleged practice of capitation fee (donations) charged by colleges. According to Dr KK Aggarwal, national president-elect, Indian Medical Association, the students will not have to apply to multiple agencies for admission in the same state. “Moreover, it is necessary to conduct common counselling after NEET. Without common counselling, the purpose of having a common entrance test is defeated,” he says.

The notification of state governments as the appropriate authority and single window for allocation of seats for UG (MBBS); PG (MD/MS/diploma) and super speciality (DM/MCh) is a welcome step and logical course to implementation of NEET as a single window entrance, says Dr Bipin Batra, executive director, National Board of Examinations.

“On December 5, 2016, the Central government had issued an advisory to this effect to all states and on January 24, 2017, all state governments had participated in a video conference chaired by the union health secretary to spearhead this reform. This includes merit as the sole criterion for admissions. Students will no longer have to fill multiple application forms and run around for various institute/s and university counselling sessions. Since the scheme is notified under these regulations, it is mandatory and binding on all institutions covered under the scope of Indian Medical Council Act,” he says.

It will also ensure that each and every medical seat in the country is effectively utilised and that no college is able to charge anything other than the prescribed fees. After NEET UG 2016 was conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education, the ministry in consultation with states and other stakeholders had issued an advisory on August 9, 2016 to the states to preferably conduct combined counselling for admission to MBBS courses for session 2016-17. The University Grants Commission, through a letter dated September 15, 2016, had directed all deemed universities that they will also be part of common counselling for admission in common courses organised either by state government/Central government or through its agencies based on the marks obtained in NEET.

Another advisory for common counselling at the state level was issued in December 2016 for admission to PG courses for the session 2017-18. “The advisories were issued since counselling was not covered under any regulations and the entire admission process had evolved as an administrative mechanism. But now with the amendment notifications in Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997 and the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulation, 2000, enabling legal provisions have been made for common counselling,” says a ministry statement.

Doctors and medical students have also welcomed the move. “Though the issue of common counselling for NEET SS needs more clarification, even if it is implemented at the UG/PG levels, centralised counselling will certainly put an end to malpractices during the admission process. It will give a sense of security to the medical aspirants and cut down on unnecessary inconvenience and cost incurred in attending multiple counselling sessions thereby providing equal opportunities to all the candidates. It is another move towards strictly implementing the concept of one India, one exam,” says Dr Akash Mathur, a Jaipur-based doctor who is a NEET SS aspirant.

NEET in Urdu from 2018-19

The Supreme Court on April 13 directed the Centre to include Urdu as a language in NEET exam, the common test for admission into medical courses, from academic session 2018-19 onwards. The apex court made it clear that it cannot ask the government to do “miracles” and include Urdu as a language for this year’s NEET examination. “In any case, we are saying it is not possible this year. There are lot of difficulties. Please try to understand that we cannot ask them (government) to do miracles. The exam is scheduled on May 7 and today is April 13. Lot of process is involved in this,” a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra told the counsel appearing for the petitioner. At present, NEET is being conducted in ten languages — Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese, Telegu, Tamil and Kannada languages.

“We direct the Union of India to include Urdu as a language in NEET examination from academic session 2018-19 onwards,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar, said.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, told the court that they were not opposed to the suggestion of conducting NEET examination in Urdu medium also from 2018-19 academic year onwards but this year it would not be possible due to paucity of time.

The apex court was hearing a petition which has sought a direction for making Urdu as a medium for NEET 2017. During the hearing, the lawyer representing the petitioner argued that there were 11,000 Urdu medium students and if Marathi can be one of the languages for NEET exam for 500 Marathi students in Maharashtra, why it cannot be in Urdu for such a large number of students.

Kota still holds the Key

After claiming top three slots in JEE-Advanced (IITs), Kota weaved another big success story. This time in the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Exam (NEET), results of which were announced by CBSE in August 2016, top three students who cleared NEET are from Kota. Jaipur also made a mark in the exam with five students making to it top 100. Het Shah and Ekasnsh Goyal who scored all-India first and second ranks, respectively, studied in Kota for two years. Nikhil Bajiya, who got third rank, is from Juhunjhunu. However, the three are students of AIIMS, and this result makes little difference to them considering that AIIMS is the top medical institute in the country any aspiring doctor would want to get admission in. Bajiya, who got second rank in AIIMS, has no regret that he stood third in NEET. A first-year student of AIIMS (Delhi), he told TOI: “I expected to be in top five. This will be of no help as I am already in AIIMS, but this has for sure boosted my confidence.” Till the last reports came in, Bajiya was the only student of Rajasthan domicile who made it in top 10.

NEET for super specialty courses too

After introducing common entrance tests for admission to undergraduate and postgraduate courses, the Health Ministry announced in December 2016 that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) will be held every year for super specialty courses in medicine. The first-ever NEET-SS (super specialty) will be held on June 10, 2017 and will be conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE), which also holds NEET (PG) postgraduate.

NEET-SS (super specialty) will be a single window entrance examination for entry to super specialty doctorate of medicine (DM); master of surgery (MCh) and post doctoral certificate (PDCC) courses.

No other entrance examination, either at state or university or institutional level conducted by any university, medical colleges or other institutions will be valid according to provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, amendments, with effect from the 2017 admission session.

The amendments were undertaken earlier this year by an ordinance ratified by Parliament. According to Dr Bipin Batra, executive director, National Board of Examinations (NBE), all states and colleges have to mandatorily participate in NEET-SS. No state government, private medical college or university is permitted to conduct any separate entrance exam for admission to their DM, MCh courses for the academic session 2017-2018. “However, AIIMS, New Delhi, PGIMER, Chandigarh, JIPMER, Puducherry, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum are not covered for admissions to DM, MCh seats through NEET-SS for 2017 session,” informs Dr Batra.

NEET-SS will be conducted in all specialties for which the corresponding MD, MS degree is eligible as entry-level qualification for pursuing super specialty courses in the country. A candidate can appear for the NEET-SS in the discipline of the eligible entry level qualification. The exam will be conducted on a computer-based test platform for a test lasting two-and-a-half hours. The question paper will consist of 200 multiple choice questions with single correct response and 25% negative marking. The 50th percentile will be the cut-off for NEET-SS.

All specialties will have separate question papers. NEET-SS scores will be valid for admission to all medical institutes – private and state level institutions and medical colleges except for the five central statutory institutes.

So how will NEET-SS differ from other entrance tests for super specialties? “NEET-SS will offer every candidate an equitable national-level platform to be eligible for entry into all super specialty courses to which he/she is eligible for in terms of the eligibility criteria notified in the PG regulations. IThe candidate has a complete spectrum of courses available based on their entry level MD,MS or DNB qualification for entry to DM, MCh courses,” says Dr Batra.

After the introduction of amendment to the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 in 2016, wherein NEET has been granted statutory status no other institution is permitted to conduct their own examination for entry to super specialty courses. Merit positions will be determined on test-takers’ percentile grades. Counselling will be conducted by authorised state government and other departments and universities.

500 MBBS students lose seats in 17 colleges

Medical education regulator Medical Council of India (MCI) has cancelled the admission of 519 MBBS students enrolled in 17 colleges. They have been attending classes for last three months.

MCI has said that the colleges admitted students directly, violating a Supreme Court order of September 28, 2016, directing the state government to hold centralised counselling and allot colleges to students based on their performance in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). “While scrutinising the admissions process, we found that 17 colleges in three states have given direct admission to 519 students in violation of the SC order,” a senior MCI official said in response to an RTI.

The matter was being investigated and more admission cancellations were expected. This is also the first time that such a large number of students have been asked to leave the MBBS programme for not complying with the admission process.

The highest number of violations were in Uttar Pradesh by 14 colleges giving direct admission to 481 students. Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have one college each with 38 students admitted in total. The medical colleges involved defended their move to admit the students, saying the counselling process was very slow and filing up seats by the admission deadline (October, 7, 2016, in this case) was not possible. That was when they decided to give direct admission instead of letting seats remain vacant, college authorities said.

4000 students left in lurch as 32 pvt colleges fail MCI test

Nearly 4,000 medical students in 32 new private colleges might find their institutes disqualified as these have failed to pass standard checks. These are among 34 colleges approved by a Supreme Court-appointed oversight committee in May 2016, but debarred by the country’s medical education regulator for failing to meet required standards.

A government source said the health ministry was examining the latest MCI report and has heard the heads of institutions that have failed the inspection. It may ask for another inspection for colleges having minor deficiencies. The ministry will send its remarks soon to the top court-appointed committee.

The committee, headed by retired judge RM Lodha, had overruled the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) decision with the condition that if these colleges fail another inspection, they cannot admit students for two years.

Subsequently these colleges admitted their first batch — 3,957 students — last summer. These students had cleared the national eligibility cum entrance test (NEET). Rules stipulate that these students — studying for their bachelors of medicine (MBBS) — should be shifted to other medical colleges if their institutes get disqualified. But experts feel such an effort will be challenging.

“You can’t stretch facilities to accommodate so many students in other approved colleges. This will hamper studies of the students,” said KK Aggarwal, national president of the Indian Medical Association.

“If the oversight committee accepts the MCI report, it will have to address the concerns of students admitted to these colleges.”

Trouble began for the students after the MCI conducted another round of inspection in those 34 colleges in November and December 2016. Only two colleges — Maheshwara Medical College in Andhra Pradesh’s Chitkul, and Amaltas Institute of Medical Sciences at Dewas in Madhya Pradesh — met the regulator’s benchmark. In most of the institutes, the MCI found shortage of faculty and resident doctors, locked intensive care units (ICU) and emergency wards, and vacant general wards. Some of the colleges forged documents to show adequate faculty or lined up fake patients for MCI inspectors.

MCI’s new course lands in emergency

In a classic case of putting the cart before the horse, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has been insisting that faculty teaching postgraduate courses in emergency medicine (EM) must have at least two years training in the field, knowing fully well that being a newly identified specialty, there is no way anyone could have been trained in the country in a recognised course. Thanks to this insistence, most medical colleges that started the PG course and students who joined them are being harassed by recognition being withheld. Colleges trying to start the course are denied permission too.

India, being a country with one of the highest numbers of road accidents and highest incidence of non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular ailments, lakhs of people land in the emergency department of hospitals every day, but few have trained in emergency management to attend to them. Despite such an urgent need for doctors trained in emergency medicine, the MCI’s stance has put the brakes on adequate numbers being trained in this specialty.

In the meeting of its post graduate medical education committee in June 2016, making two-year special training in emergency medicine an essential requirement for recruiting faculty was found to be “not feasible because these courses were not existing in the country earlier”. A sub-committee was constituted to suggest changes in the mandatory qualification. Even after admitting the absurdity of asking for a qualification that was not possible to obtain, the MCI continues to refuse recognition for this course on the same basis.

PG committee meetings were also held in March this year and the general body met on March 29, but minutes of these meetings are not yet in the public domain. Queries sent by TOI to the MCI president and secretary on the issue received no response. MCI had identified EM as a specialty and got it gazetted on July 21, 2009. By Dec 15 that year, a notification was issued specifying the qualifications needed for faculty for EM – PG degree in general medicine or surgery, respiratory medicine, anaesthesia or orthopaedics with two year training in EM. The minutes of the post graduate committee meetings show that the first colleges to get permission to start MD Emergency Medicine, BJ Medical College (Dec 29, 2009) and NHL medical College (February 2010), both in Ahmedabad, did not have faculty with the required qualification.

With no ‘legitimate’ EM training offered in India before it was recognised as a specialty in 2009 and faculty qualification being decided in December 2009, it was almost impossible for anyone to get the mandatory two-year training in EM needed to be faculty. Out of 51 seats under MCI jurisdiction, just six – five in Gujarat and one in Karnataka – have been recognised till date.

Thanks to the MCI holding up the expansion of recognised EM courses in medical colleges, students are pushed to corporate hospitals offering unrecognized PG courses in EM which charge lakhs of rupees as fees.

Common Entrance Test for admission in Medical

Single Dose

Following years’ long debates, discussions deliberations at various levels and also a failed attempt two years back, the Union Health Ministry once again mooted the idea of conducting Common Entrance Test for admissions in MBBS, BDS and post-graduate medical courses. Although the decision has been welcomed by academicians, experts and officials, the government needs to act carefully so that the matter is not again trapped in any legal battle, as happened in June 2013 when the Supreme Court struck down the similar idea on technical grounds. The ‘single dose’ if administered successfully will surely change the scenario of medical education, especially arresting the malpractices and large scale corruption prevailing in this sector, the move is full of hurdles ahead at implementation level. An analysis by Pramod Kumar

Mahima, a Class XII student of Delhi’s DAV Public School, Anand Vihar, is happy. She is one of the lakhs of students who are aspiring to appear for next year’s medical entrance. “The Common Entrance Test will save our time and make the pre-admission process hassle free,” she feels. The NDA Government’s decision to conduct Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission in undergraduate courses in all medical colleges across the country has developed a hope among the students who want to pursue medical education.

Till now, most aspirants have to sit now for around 90 entrance tests to get into one of the medical colleges for a bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery (MBBS) or bachelor of dental surgery (BDS) courses. Faculty members in medical colleges believe that this test, if implemented successfully, will create uniformity in merit across colleges. “Since all medical aspirants need to clear the same test, there will be uniformity in merit across classrooms. It also means that there will be uniformity in the standard of professionals passing out of the medical colleges,” says Dr RS Tonk, Prof. of Medicine, Rammanohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi.

Two years after the Supreme Court quashed the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) notification on the single entrance test the NDA government revived the proposal and it now hopes to make the common entrance test a reality soon. The Health Ministry’s proposal to this effect was formally granted nod by the general body of Medical Council of India (MCI) on October 1. The proposed changes in the IMC (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which was referred to the MCI, were also approved by the general body. MCI chairperson Dr Jayshree Mehta said, “We have sent recommendations for common entrance test for MBBS, PG and even super-specialty courses in nearly 400 medical colleges across India to the Union government. If the government makes a favourable amendment, a unified test for medical admissions will become a reality in 2016.”

“The MCI is on board. We have through proposed amendments to the IMC Act sought to remove the legal anomalies that had in 2013 led to the rejection of the single exam proposal. The Supreme Court had then ruled that the MCI didn’t have legal powers to hold a unified exam. This amendment will give the MCI those powers,” a senior Health Ministry official said.

There are around 70,000 seats for MBBS and 21,000 seats for MD in institutions across India. Currently, every state government conducts their own entrance test. Similarly, private medical college association, deemed universities and minority institutes that offer medical education too conduct their own Tests. Candidates most often take all these tests as they don’t want to risk their chances. But now, there will be a common entrance test for all medical aspirants from across the country. If gets all clearance it would be of great help to the students. Many of the MCI officials along with members of the government felt that the CET for Medical colleges would actually help get rid of the corruption prevalent in the admission scenario from the very beginning. The government decision also stems from mass evidences of overcharging, malpractices and dilution of quality of academic instruction in many private colleges. With the MCI approving the IMC Amendment Bill 2015, the Ministry will now put the law in public domain for suggestions of stakeholders. After that the MCI will conduct national consultations before taking the proposal to the Cabinet and then Parliament.

The move to have a common entrance test for medical students across the country was first initiated in 2009, when the MCI was headed by Dr Ketan Desai. But the Supreme Court, in June 2013, ruled the MCI notification as ‘invalid’. A three-judge bench by a 2:1 verdict held that the notification was ultravires of the Constitution. The majority verdict by the then Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir and Justice Vikramajit Sen said the MCI is not empowered to prescribe all India medical entrance tests. The bench said the MCI notification was in violation of Articles 19, 25, 26, 29 and 30 of the Constitution. Justice AR Dave had dissented from the view. The court’s decision had come on 115 petitions challenging the MCI notification on National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to MBBS and post-graduate medical courses conducted in colleges across the country.

Consortium of Medical, Engineering and Dental Colleges of Karnataka CEO S Srikanth while commenting on the move of CET says, “What is important is the quality of medical education. The admissions are mostly based on money factor and not the merit factor.” Aspiring medicos have been arguing that CET will make the admission process simpler and more transparent. A sting operation conducted by the CNN-IBN in April 2013 had exposed how private medical colleges were illegally selling medical seats for crores of rupees. The Vyapam scam of Madhya Pradesh has exposed the deep rooted corruption and malpractices adopted in medical admission. In order to root out corruption and malpractices the MCI in 2013 notified common entrance test. But the proposal was opposed by private medical and dental colleges and they moved the apex court. The court then ordered the MCI to conduct National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and allowed all states and private colleges to conduct their entrance exams but asked them not to declare results till the verdict is pronounced. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Puducherry-based Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research were also allowed to conduct their own entrance tests. But finally the apex court struck the notification in June 2013.

Now the same process has begun afresh. The aim is to give students adequate time to concentrate on one test so that they give it their best. For all these years, it has been a hassle for students to fill different forms for different entrance tests. Also the students had to prepare differently for each test as each followed a different curriculum. Then, dates and timings of tests often clashed and students had to skip one exam to sit for another. If the government succeeds, there medical admission process will be totally trouble free.

What is Hot

  • A common entrance test for admission into almost all MBBS colleges
  • Easier for students as they have to sit for only one exam
  • No need to apply for different medical entrance examinations
  • Substantial financial savings for parents (cost of forms, application fees, and so on)
  • Since the admission criteria does not include Plus Two marks (apart from minimum eligibility), a student must prepare in a focused manner
  • Students can appear offline or online, based on their convenience

What is Not

  • CET syllabus needs to be defined in a way that the students studying in any part of the country can prepare for the Test
  • Undoubtedly, earlier a student got several opportunities to appear in different medical entrance tests. Poor performance in a particular test was often offset by a better result in another test. Now there’s just a single chance — you either make it or break it
  • Top grade medical schools, such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences also must be under the CET
  • Since there will be a single test for around 31,000 seats, quality and implementation of a error-free and unified system is doubtful

IMC (Amendment) Bill, 2015

  • The Health Ministry has mooted amendments to the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 to give the MCI the power to hold a single national medical entrance examination for all colleges
  • The IMC (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was referred to the MCI, which, in its general body meeting on October 1, approved the changes
  • The Ministry will now put the law in public domain for suggestions of stakeholders

 

“We have sent recommendations for common entrance test for MBBS, PG and even super-specialty courses in nearly 400 medical colleges across India to the Union government. If the government makes a favourable amendment, a unified test for medical admissions will become a reality in 2016.” — Dr Jayshree Mehta, Chairperson, Medical Council of India

“Over 90 medical entrance tests are held across India. Apart from it the students are forced to cough up thousands towards the fee for appearing in multiple exams and travel expenses, many students are robbed of the opportunity to stake admission claim to different colleges. I am happy with the MCI decision now. I hope the government will act on the recommendations as it will immensely benefit the meritorious students.” –Ketan Desai, former Chairman, Medical Council of India

 

Challenges Ahead

Experts, academicians and officials say the proposed Common Entrance Test (CET) for admitting students to undergraduate courses has to overcome several hurdles before it can see the light of the day. The biggest hurdle, which some people see as an infringement on the academic autonomy of universities, is drawing up of the syllabus for each of the 33 subjects taught in 13 state-run universities. The higher education council is supposed to prepare the syllabus of each subject taking into account the curricula followed in the 13 universities. Sources in the higher education council said little had been done in framing the common syllabi for the entrance test.

When former Jadavpur University Vice Chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti was vice-chairman of the Council, the syllabi of nine subjects had been prepared. The process stopped when he moved out in 2013. Over the past two years, there has been no progress. After the draft syllabus of each subject is prepared, it has to be posted on the Council’s website so that universities can express their views on it. According to the plan, the universities will have 15 days to present their opinion on a draft syllabus once it is posted on the website. The MCI sources say it was certain that each draft syllabus would draw a volley of objections from the universities. Each university follows its own model. Unitary universities, such as Jadavpur and Presidency, follow the semester system and their syllabi are different from those followed by affiliating universities such as Calcutta and Kalyani. Striking a balance between the two would be difficult.

A professor at Presidency University said even two unitary universities follow different syllabi. “How will the Council experts arrive at a common meeting ground on each subject?” the Professor wondered. A professor of mathematics at JU said their courses were designed in a way to ensure continuity between undergraduate and postgraduate studies. “We admit students at the undergraduate level and groom them in a way that they can study up to the postgraduate level. That requires us to maintain continuity between the two levels. The Calcutta University, however, has a different approach.

The same reason had in 2013 prompted as many as 19 of the 20 Boards of studies at JU to object to the proposed Common Entrance Test for postgraduate courses. To skirt admission through a common test, the University had in 2013 planned to launch a five-year integrated programme from 2014-15 session. The University, however, did not pursue the matter as the government shelved the test plan. An MCI official said a common test would also require drawing up a common academic calendar and ensuring simultaneous publication of the undergraduate Part III results. “A common calendar is yet to be drawn up. We are yet to finalise the agency that will hold the test. We had thought about assigning the task to the college service commission but the panel backed out citing preoccupations,” a higher education council official said.

Health ministry rankings to help choose a medical school abroad

Those looking to study medicine abroad have their priorities cut out — apart from choosing a reputed institute, they have to factor in tuition fees, cost of living and the city or country they want to go to. To make their search easy, the ministry of health and family welfare has come up with a list of medical institutes they can apply to as degrees from these universities will hold value in India too. The institutes have been ranked on the basis of how students have performed in a screening test, the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE). The FMGE is a licensure exam which screens out test-takers who do not have the aptitude for medicine and select those who are capable of boosting the country’s physician workforce with their knowledge and skills.

The list has around 286 institutions from 42 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, United Arab Emirates and Romania. NBE has ranked institutes on the basis of results of around 35,000 students who cleared their MBBS exams between 2012 and 2014. About 9,690 Indian students passed the screening test during this period with an overall pass percentage of about 27%. The maximum number of graduates, according to the ranking, were from China (11,825) with a pass percentage of 18.9%, followed by Russia (5,950) with a pass percentage of 18.4%, Ukraine (3,520) with a pass percentage of 19.1% and Nepal (3,163) with a pass percentage of 21.2%.

There are 16 colleges and universities from where Indian students have graduated in the NBE screening test with a pass percentage of 100%. Two colleges in China – Chenyang Medical College and College of the Left Side of China have a pass percentage of 100% Indians in the test. Russia’s Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University also has a pass percentage of 100% as has Ukraine’s VN Karazin Kharkiv National Medical University. Nepal’s Nobel Medical College has been ranked number one on the NBE list with a pass percentage of 32%. BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences is a close second with a pass percentage of 31%.

With increasing competition and fewer MBBS seats in India for lakhs of students who apply, many medical aspirants contemplate pursuing education abroad in countries such as China, Ukraine, Russia and the Philippines. Another reason for choosing these countries over others is the cheaper educational cost when compared to the more expensive countries like the US or UK.

Experts say the health ministry move will help students as well as the Indian medical fraternity. “Generally speaking, a ranking based on objectively structured criteria and defined weightage accruable thereto is definitely useful for a student to make an appropriate choice for seeking admission to a concerned college. An objectively-based categorisation is of definite use to the stakeholders,” says Dr Jayshree Mehta, president, Medical Council of India.

Dr Mehta says that the present scenario would be affected to the extent that the Indian students opting for foreign medical qualifications could make an ‘informed choice’ while selecting an institute. “This would be on the basis of specific quality information handily available to him so that the choice is not blind in nature but is based on subtle relevant information. However, the ranking would turn out to be of consequence and relevance provided it is made in an objective and definitive manner,” she adds.

Dr KK Aggarwal, honorary secretary general, Indian Medical Association, agrees. “We must remember that students make institutions and institutions do not make students. An institution like AIIMS has the best results because the best students go there. Through such a ranking, students can know the pass percentage of these institutions. China and Russia have the cheapest medical fee and that is why most students go there. This kind of ranking helps.”

How did Indians fare in FMGE?

The National Board of Examinations has ranked medical institutes based on the results of around 35,000 students obtaining MBBS degrees from select institutes between 2012 and 2014

9,690 Indian students passed the screening test during 2012-2014 with an overall pass percentage of about 27%

11,825 Students from 87 colleges in China appeared for the FMGE from 2012-2014 and 2,239 Indians passed

5,950 Students from 34 colleges in Russia appeared for the FMGE and 1,094 Indians passed

3,520 Students from 18 colleges in Ukraine appeared for the FMGE and 671 Indians passed

3,163 Students from 14 colleges in Nepal appeared for the FMGE between 2012 and 2014.

 

National Health Profile shows poor doctor-patient ratio

Every government hospital serves an estimated 61,000 people in India, with one bed for every 1833 people, new official data shows. In undivided Andhra Pradesh, every government hospital serves over 3 lakh patients while in Bihar, there is only one bed for every 8800 people. Union Minister for Health J.P. Nadda released the National Health Profile 2015 prepared by the Central Bureau for Health Intelligence (CBHI) on September 23.

Every government allopathic doctor serves a population of over 11,000 people, with Bihar and Maharashtra having the worst ratios. The number of qualified allopathic doctors registered with medical councils fell in 2014 to 16,000, or less than half the previous year’s number; the data was however provisional, CBHI officials said. India now has cumulatively 9.4 lakh allopathic doctors, 1.54 lakh dental surgeons, and 7.37 lakh AYUSH doctors of whom more than half are Ayurvedic doctors. India’s 400 medical colleges admit an estimated 47,000 students annually.

The Centre’s share of total public expenditure on health has fallen over the last two years, and India spends less of its GDP on health than some of the world’s poorest countries. Among all States, undivided Andhra Pradesh had the highest public expenditure on health in 2012-13. Goa and the north-eastern States spent the most on health per capita while Bihar and Jharkhand spent the least. Out-of-pocket private expenditure on health has risen steadily over the years, with the cost of medicines, followed by that of hospitalisation accounting for the largest share of the household expenditure. Absolute spending, as well as its share in total non-food expenditure, rises with income levels. Kerala spends the most privately on health.

 

Ready for changes in engineering and medical entrance tests?

Gauri Kohli

Engineering and medicine aspirants will have to prepare themselves for some major changes likely in the national-level entrance tests for engineering and medicine in the next couple of years. Before taking the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for engineering, aspirants will have to appear for an online aptitude test which will determine whether they are fit to take the JEE. From 2016, the top two lakh students will be eligible for the JEE (Advanced) instead of the top 1.5 lakh. Joint counseling will continue to be done for NITs and IITs.

“In future, Class 12 Board exam marks may not be considered. But students should not neglect Board exams. The changes are aimed to bring down the number of vacant seats which will have a positive impact on aspirants,” says PV Balaji, former chairman, JEE.

There are changes in store in the medical entrance too. Those aiming to pursue medicine may get only one chance to prove themselves as there are plans to have a common entrance test for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses across the country. The Medical Council of India (MCI) has given its nod to a proposal that supports the idea of a common medical test. Experts say the expected changes will have a lot of impact on the student intake quality and will also reduce burden on students.

Changes expected

The Committee of Eminent Persons (CEP), constituted by the IIT Council, has recommended major changes in the JEE structure with effect from 2017. While the exam will continue to be held in two stages, online aptitude tests to check the scientific aptitude of candidates will be held several times a year.

In a report submitted to the Centre on November 5, 2015, the CEP has proposed setting up a National Testing Service (NTS) by 2016 to conduct the aptitude test.

About four lakh candidates will be shortlisted for the JEE which will be on the lines of the current JEE (Advanced) by the IITs and will test the candidates in physics, chemistry and math. On the basis of their ranks more than 40,000 students will be able to apply to the IITs and NITs after common counselling.

Another recommendation by the CEP is that the IITs should set-up a system for developing mock JEEs to better prepare candidates for the exam. “The objectives of the proposed changes include conducting a single entrance test for all Centrally-funded technical institutions and reducing financial and mental burden on the candidates and their parents,” says Professor KV Krishna, member, Joint Admissions Board of IITs.

The two-tier JEE will continue in 2016 and 2017. From next year, the top two lakh students from JEE (Main) will be allowed to appear in JEE (Advanced). Joint counselling for IITs and NITs will continue (as was done last year). Board marks will not be counted when determining the rankings (likely from 2016) for NITs and Centrally-funded technical institutions. Weightage for Board marks would be given in JEE (Main) in 2016. Medical aspirants can expect a common entrance test in the next two years.

“In the October general body meeting of the MCI, the Council has backed the proposal for holding a common entrance test for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses in colleges and deemed universities across the country and has sent its recommendations to the health ministry,” says Dr Jayshree Mehta, president, MCI.

State governments currently conduct their own entrance tests. Also, candidates wanting admissions to private medical colleges and deemed universities have to take their tests, besides the AIPMT.

Impact of exam reforms

Elaborating on the impact of other changes in the engineering entrance exam, Professor Krishna says, “I do not find much use of introducing a two-stage exam for admission to the IITs. The common counselling, however, is one of the very good things that ever happened for the institutes and candidates. This has reduced the number of vacant seats in the participating institutes. However, there should be more number of rounds of allotment so that the candidates can get better seat preferences among their choices.”

A National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical colleges has also been scrapped. After several petitions that challenged MCI’s notification on NEET, the Supreme Court quashed the notification for holding common entrance tests for MBBS, BDS and postgraduate medical courses.

“NEET was a great way to screen aspiring doctors. A single entrance examination will reduce the harassment caused to aspirants who have to travel from one city to the other and spend money to appear for multiple entrance examinations all over India,” says Dr Arun Agarwal, professor of excellence, ENT, Maulana Azad Medical College.

Key changes likely to happen

# From next year, the top two lakh students from JEE (Main) will be allowed to appear in JEE (Advanced)

# An online aptitude test will be held several times a year to check the scientific aptitude of candidates from 2016

# Board marks will not be counted for giving rankings (likely from 2016) for NITs and Centrally-funded technical institutions

# Weightage for Board marks would be given in JEE (Main) in 2016

# A common entrance test for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses in colleges and deemed universities across India soon

# 4 lakh Candidates to be shortlisted for JEE which will be on the lines of the current JEE (Advanced)

# 40,000 Candidates will be able to apply to IITs and NITs, based on their ranks

Engg. College cut 1.3 lakh seats since 2013-24

When 23 lakh candidates, including 2.2 lakh engineers, applied for 368 posts of peons in Uttar Pradesh a few months back, the story obviously grabbed headlines. Little wonder that the bleak future of engineering graduates is getting reflected in falling student intake and courses offered by engineering colleges. In the three years between 2013-14 and 2015-16, engineering colleges have reduced the number of seats by a staggering 1.3 lakh. The student intake has also declined in the same proportion.

More than 23,000 of these seats were reduced because of shutting down of 71 engineering colleges while another 1,279 colleges decreased the number of courses offered for engineering (diploma, UG,PG), the answer to a recent question in Parliament revealed. A state-wise analysis of the reduction of seats shows that erstwhile Andhra Pradesh (including Telangana), Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra accounted for 80,000 of these reduced seats. These states also account for the highest number of engineering colleges.

Between2012-13 and 201415, the number of approved seats have increased from 16.5 lakh to over 18 lakh. This is despite the fact that there is a steady decline in the number of students actually joining these courses. From 10.1 lakh in 2012-13, the student intake dropped to 9.9 lakh in 2013-14 and 9.1 lakh in 2014-15, a decrease of about a lakh. The data also shows that the student intake has gone down from 61% of approved seats in these colleges to 51% over the three years.

Census data shows that in 2011 there were 121 lakh people who had technical degrees or diploma equal to graduation or post-graduation. Of these, 16 lakh were unemployed and seeking work, while another 3.1 lakh were working as marginal workers. Overall, there were 5.7 lakh marginal workers with technical degrees. Experts attribute this phenomenon to various reasons. Unlike other graduate degrees, engineering is a job oriented course and a sustained slowdown reflects on job opportunities and hence student intake.

The increase in the seats despite a lower intake of students could be linked to the fact that many colleges apply for accreditation for both engineering as well as management courses, they point out. The approval alone doesn’t guarantee student enrolment as many of these institutes lack basic infrastructure as well as good teaching staff.

 

Health ministry rankings help you choose a medical school abroad

Gauri Kohli

Those looking to study medicine abroad have their priorities cut out — apart from choosing a reputed institute, they have to factor in tuition fees, cost of living and the city or country they want to go to. To make their search easy, the ministry of health and family welfare has come up with a list of medical institutes they can apply to as degrees from these universities will hold value in India too. The institutes have been ranked on the basis of how students have performed in a screening test, the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE). The FMGE is a licensure exam which screens out test-takers who do not have the aptitude for medicine and select those who are capable of boosting the country’s physician workforce with their knowledge and skills.

The list has around 286 institutions from 42 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, United Arab Emirates and Romania. NBE has ranked institutes on the basis of results of around 35,000 students who cleared their MBBS exams between 2012 and 2014. About 9,690 Indian students passed the screening test during this period with an overall pass percentage of about 27%. The maximum number of graduates, according to the ranking, were from China (11,825) with a pass percentage of 18.9%, followed by Russia (5,950) with a pass percentage of 18.4%, Ukraine (3,520) with a pass percentage of 19.1% and Nepal (3,163) with a pass percentage of 21.2%.

There are 16 colleges and universities from where Indian students have graduated in the NBE screening test with a pass percentage of 100%. Two colleges in China – Chenyang Medical College and College of the Left Side of China have a pass percentage of 100% Indians in the test. Russia’s Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University also has a pass percentage of 100% as has Ukraine’s VN Karazin Kharkiv National Medical University. Nepal’s Nobel Medical College has been ranked number one on the NBE list with a pass percentage of 32%. BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences is a close second with a pass percentage of 31%.

With increasing competition and fewer MBBS seats in India for lakhs of students who apply, many medical aspirants contemplate pursuing education abroad in countries such as China, Ukraine, Russia and the Philippines. Another reason for choosing these countries over others is the cheaper educational cost when compared to the more expensive countries like the US or UK.

Experts say the health ministry move will help students as well as the Indian medical fraternity. “Generally speaking, a ranking based on objectively structured criteria and defined weightage accruable thereto is definitely useful for a student to make an appropriate choice for seeking admission to a concerned college. An objectively-based categorisation is of definite use to the stakeholders,” says Dr Jayshree Mehta, president, Medical Council of India.

Dr Mehta says that the present scenario would be affected to the extent that the Indian students opting for foreign medical qualifications could make an ‘informed choice’ while selecting an institute. “This would be on the basis of specific quality information handily available to him so that the choice is not blind in nature but is based on subtle relevant information. However, the ranking would turn out to be of consequence and relevance provided it is made in an objective and definitive manner,” she adds.

Dr KK Aggarwal, honorary secretary general, Indian Medical Association, agrees. “We must remember that students make institutions and institutions do not make students. An institution like AIIMS has the best results because the best students go there. Through such a ranking, students can know the pass percentage of these institutions. China and Russia have the cheapest medical fee and that is why most students go there. This kind of ranking helps.”

How did Indians fare in FMGE?

The National Board of Examinations has ranked medical institutes based on the results of around 35,000 students obtaining MBBS degrees from select institutes between 2012 and 2014

–9,690 Indian students passed the screening test during 2012-2014 with an overall pass percentage of about 27%

–11,825 Students from 87 colleges in China appeared for the FMGE from 2012-2014 and 2,239 Indians passed

–5,950 Students from 34 colleges in Russia appeared for the FMGE and 1,094 Indians passed

–3,520 Students from 18 colleges in Ukraine appeared for the FMGE and 671 Indians passed

–3,163 Students from 14 colleges in Nepal appeared for the FMGE between 2012 and 2014.

MCI silent on medical college inspection fraud

Rema Nagarajan

In the world of private medical colleges and Medical Council of India’s inspection of these colleges, doctors who are assistant professors in one inspection can become resident doctors in the next. Despite this fraud being pointed out to the MCI, no action has been taken so far.

In a letter to MCI Chairman Dr Jayshree Mehta on November 26, 2015, Prof Raj Bahadur, vice chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences pointed out that three declaration forms of faculty approved by the MCI assessors in Maharishi Markandeshwar Medical College and Hospital, Kumarhatti, in Solan, Himachal Pradesh were found to be faulty. Prof Bahadur, who is a member of the ethics committee of the Punjab Medical Council, said that in a committee meeting, they found that Dr Dinesh Kumar and Dr Barinder Pal Singh who were shown as assistant professors in General Medicine at the medical college during the inspection on May 12, 2014, were shown as senior residents in the inspection on January 1, 2015. Again Dr Kulwant Singh, an assistant professor in General Medicine in the June 2013 inspection, became a senior resident in the 2015 inspection.
In his letter to the MCI, Prof Bahadur sought action. However, the MCI has not responded. There was no response from the MCI president to TOI’s queries on why the MCI assessors had missed such a glaring discrepancy and what MCI intended to do to ensure that such frauds could not be perpetrated in future.
Prof Bahadur in his letter raised questions about why the MCI assessors could not verify that the same candidates in two successive inspections were at a higher or lower designation. “The upper age limit for a senior resident is 35-40 years. These three doctors were 41, 44 and 56 years old. How come this did not alert the assessors? Either the assessors don’t know their job or they are dishonest. The forms are seconded by the head of the department, then by the principal and by the assessors. So every one of them had to be involved. It is a criminal offence of fraud and forging of documents. The MCI ought to have registered a criminal case against the college authorities or even the inspectors if their connivance is shown,” said Dr G S Grewal, PMC president.

“Since these doctors have committed that they have not filled their forms, it is surprising how the assessors have evaluated them on the day of the inspection without verifying whether the declaration form is filled by them or somebody else,” stated Prof Bahadur. He added that only three parties could be responsible for allowing this fraud — the candidate, the assessors or the institution. Interestingly, in the January 2015 inspection report, one of the comments by the assessors was that there was a shortage of about 3% in resident doctors.

The Maharishi Markandeshwar Medical College, which was started in 2013 with permission to take in 150 students, was earlier in the news for its ‘ghost faculty’ or doctors who were shown as full-time faculty and drawing full pay but who were actually working elsewhere and were visiting the college once in a week to 10 days. In this case too, no action has been taken by the MCI yet.

 

Health Ministry opens AMRIT outlet at AIIMS

With the aim to reduce the expenditure incurred by patients on treatment of cancer and heart diseases, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare opened the Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) outlet at AIIMs. The retail outlet will sell drugs for the two ailments at highly discounted rates at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

The AMRIT pharmacy would be selling 202 cancer and 186 cardio-vascular drugs, and 148 types of cardiac implants at very affordable prices. Patients can buy medicines and implants at 50 to 60 percent cheaper prices than the open market from AMRIT outlet in AIIMS.

The project has been floated in a tie-up with government-owned HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL) which is deputed to establish and run the AMRIT chain of pharmacies across the country. The government’s move comes amid statistics that peg Indians diagnosed with cancer at 700,000 every year.

About 2.8 million people have cancer at any point of time and half a million die of the disease each year. The annual figure of women being diagnosed with breast cancer in India is 145,000, according to the World Health Organisation. A significant number of patients (nearly over 50 per cent) stop visiting hospitals after two or three cycles of chemotherapy due to unaffordable costs.

Preparation Tips for Competitive Exams

Every year, lakhs of students battle and sweat it out in the competitive exams, whether it is engineering entrance exams like IIT-JEE or other, medical entrance exams, GATE, PSUs, CAT, GRE, CLAT, SSC, Bank or the highly
competitive UPSC exams like ESE, IAS, etc. The exam season is full of frenzy and late night studies, last minute brush-ups and sleepless nights.

The whole atmosphere is filled with anxiety and stress. Students prepare assiduously for exams all the year round and competitive exams are the deciders. The ranks you secure in these exams will decide your future course of action.

Besides, a person who successfully clears a competitive exam is looked at with much awe and social respect. If you top any exam, there is no looking back. The world is your oyster. In this write-up, you will learn about few
strategic ways to prepare effectively for competitive exams, which will help you to accomplish your goal. Each aspirant should read the strategic ways and try to follow them during preparation.

Join a reputed coaching institute

This is the first step, because competitive exams are quite different from the usual college level/university level exams. You need to follow a different strategy to crack these exams. A reputed and credible coaching institute will guide you and prepare you to crack these exams.

Be familiar with the exam pattern

Get yourself acquainted with the pattern of the various competitive exams you may appear. This will help you to solve the paper efficiently and it will increase your confident. Take mock tests seriously and evaluate your performance each time. Approach your teachers for their valuable guidance. Also, solve previous years question papers.

Stay calm, eat healthy and exercise

This one is overlooked aspect of preparation. It is natural to get tensed and anxious during exam times. For your better performance, try to remain calm and composed. Only then can you find out whereyour mistake lies. Do
not lose your temper; mind will work its best when you are calm.

Do not compromise on your diet and sleep pattern because a balanced diet is the most important thing to follow for good health. if you follow the balanced diet, you will improve your immunity and not fall sick often. Exercise regularly, at least for 4-5 days a week and one hour each day.

It boosts your metabolism and your energy levels which improve your stamina and this will help you in your preparation.

Be disciplined

Discipline is most important to achieve anything in your life. Follow a daily routine, stick to it & do not deviate from it. Sleep the minimum 7-8 hours everyday. Take power naps during the day, but not for too long. Make a timetable, work out a plan and execute
it sincerely.

Stay energetic and motivated

Motivation is most important factor which determines whether you succeed or not. It is only motivation that can induce positive feelings and thoughts in you, to work very hard and reach out towards your goal. One failure cannot determine your spirit. You should make up your mind to succeed, no matter what. Obstacles are tiny hurdles that
seem big when you cannot focus properly!

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