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MBBS graduates may have to clear NEXT to practice: draft bill
The provision is part of a bill drafted by the ministry of health to address concerns over quality of education in medical colleges and of doctors
The bill proposes that the state governments reserve up to 50% of seats in post-graduate courses in government colleges for doctors who have served at least three years in remote areas. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
New Delhi: Soon MBBS pass outs from government as well as private medical colleges will have to clear the National Exit Test (NEXT) to be able to practice as a registered medical practitioner.
The provision is part of a bill drafted by the ministry of health on the basis of reforms suggested by a high-powered committee led by Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya to address concerns over quality of education in medical colleges and of doctors, said a senior health ministry official.
The health ministry has published the draft bill—named the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016—on its website and has sought feedback from public till 6 January.
The bill also proposes conducting common counselling for entry to postgraduate courses in all medical colleges. “Many institutes which are deemed universities and private colleges, want to conduct their own counselling so that they can pick and choose which may result in capitation fees because the number of NEET pass outs is three times more than the number of seats,” said another official.
“By introducing common counselling, our attempt is to streamline the system so that the seats are allotted strictly on merit-cum-choice basis from among the eligible candidates.”
Apart from that, the bill proposes that the state governments reserve up to 50% of seats in post-graduate courses in government colleges for doctors who have served at least three years in remote areas.
After acquiring PG degrees, medical officers may be required to serve up to three years in remote and difficult areas by state governments and Union territories. “The idea is to encourage more and more MBBS pass outs to go and practice in remote and rural areas,” the official added.
MBBS students to protest against NEXT exam tomorrow
NEXT is part of the proposal mooted by the Union Health Ministry as part of the amendments to be introduced in the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Act. According to the proposal, students are mandated to clear NEXT to obtain licence to practice.Students believe that taking an entrance exam in addition to their MBBS exams would be taxing. Dr Manoop Kumaraswamy, member, Young Doctors’ Association, IMA said, “What is the necessity for an exam when we are already preparing for NEET PG? Students will have to clear yet another exam. Instead, the government can just refine the existing system. Besides, we are told that even Ayush doctors clearing this exam will be granted permission to prescribe allopathy medicines after a bridge course.”
Dr Rajashekara Bellary, president, IMA Karnataka said, “Those who have cleared MBBS are expected to take the exam. What is the use of having studied the course for five-and-a-half years then? It is an unnecessary burden on students. Students will also lose faith in the system of study then.”
In a memorandum, the students have said, “The examinations are conducted by universities which are recognized by University Grants Commission and MBBS examination is therefore rightfully a qualifying examination for the degree of Modern Medicine. Therefore, introducing NEXT as a qualifying examination is unnecessary and makes the university examination redundant.”
They also say that converting a competitive examination into both a qualifying examination and competitive examination for post graduation is not in the students’ interest as the structure and objective of a qualifying examination for admission to post graduation is different from a qualifying examination that is meant for assessing the minimum qualification required to receive the degree
Exit exam for MBBS medical students? It’s necessary, say experts
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.”
Medical students will have to clear exit test for ‘Dr’ tag
- It will substitute three tests, including NEET for postgraduate admissions
- Students will have to pass the National Exit Test (NEXT) to use ‘Dr’ tag
- The results of how students from individual colleges have performed in NEXT will be made public
MUMBAI: Medical students will have to do more than complete a five-and-a-half-year-long medical course to use the ‘doctor’ title. The draft Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2016, unveiled by the Union health ministry on Thursday, said they will have to pass the National Exit Test (NEXT). The test is expected to create a level-playing field in medical education, increasingly becoming privatized.
A central government official said NEXT would improve the quality of medical education in the country and help benchmark students. “It will substitute three tests, including NEET for postgraduate admissions, recruitment for central health services and the foreign graduate medical examination,” said the official, adding it will be an outcome-based test. “The results of how students from individual colleges have performed in NEXT will be made public. If a college has over 90% students clearing the test, it will automatically act as an indicator. Students can make an informed choice while selecting colleges,” said the official.
Dr P Shingare, who heads the state’s department of medical education and research, said NEXT is a good move. “How can we equate a student from X university with one from Y University? NEXT will bring about standardisation,” he said. A professor said inspection by authorities can just rate the infrastructure of a college and only the outcome of NEXT can be a tangible parameter to determine the quality of that college.
Entrance Tests Not Enough, MBBS Students Will Now Also Have To Take An Exit Exam To Become Doctors
In order to formally start practicing medicine, medical students will have to do more than complete a five-and-a-half year long MBBS course.
The Union Health Ministry has decided to implement a new rule in medical education through the draft Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill by which medical students are required to pass a common exit test before they can use the ‘doctor’ title.
The test called the National Exit Test (NEXT) “will substitute three tests, including NEET for postgraduate admissions, recruitment for central health services and the foreign graduate medical examination.” So this test will also serve as a substitute for an entrance test for those who want to pursue postgraduate studies.
Students of both government and private colleges will have to appear for the test. It is expected that the test will create a level playing field in medical education.
Medical colleges will also be rated based on the marks students score in this test.
Times of India quoted a central government official in its report on the matter who said: “The results of how students from individual colleges have performed in NEXT will be made public. If a college has over 90% students clearing the test, it will automatically act as an indicator.”
Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill: Doctors, parents of medical aspirants raise concern over exit test for MBBS graduates
MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS and parents of medical aspirants in the state have raised concerns over the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, introduced by the Union health ministry earlier this week. The draft makes provision for an exit test (National Exit Test or NEXT) for MBBS graduates to qualify for medical practice. This provision, while aimed at providing a level-playing field to both government and private college students, has been opposed by doctors and parents alike.
More than 100 parents and doctors from the state have voiced their opposition to NEXT in their recommendations to the health ministry. The draft, which has been passed by Parliament, is open to feedback from general public.
In their feedback, the parents have contested the validity of the NEXT and the 50 per cent reservation in post-graduation seats for candidates in government services.
“We already have a continuous evaluation process for medical students all through the five and a half years of their MBBS programme. Taking a NEXT exam at the end makes the university exams and assessments redundant,” said Rajendra Kulkarni, a paediatrician from Nashik who has written to the ministry.
He said that such a tedious process will discourage meritorious students to take up medical courses. While the draft states that NEXT will replace the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for post-graduation courses, Kulkarni said the draft does not clarify on what happens if an MBBS student fails NEXT.
Some doctors have also suggested that the Bill should allow students to take NEXT multiple times as it was a qualifier for admission to post-graduate courses.
While many parents and doctors agreed that NEXT would help maintain uniform standards in medical education, the 50 per cent reservation clause has not been well-accepted. Some parents said that the reservation went against the current merit-based system of admission.
“With the current 50 per cent constitutional reservations at the undergraduate and post-graduate entry level, an additional 50 per cent reservation for government medical officers will leave less than 25 per cent chance for open category students,” said Sudha Shenoy, a parent of medical student in Mumbai. She said this restriction will compel MBBS graduates to look for post-graduation courses abroad.
Kulkarni, too, said the move would set MBBS students back by a year or two. “With a five and a half year course for MBBS, a compulsory government service of at least a year and an ME programme, it will take a doctor at least 13 years to complete their education,” said Kulkarni. This, he said, will discourage students from taking up medical education. The parents and doctors have asked the ministry to reconsider these clauses before passing the Act. The draft is open for suggestions till January 6.
Exit exam for Medical Students made mandatory
Medical students will now be required to do a little more than completing a five and a half year long medical degree to secure the ‘Doctor’ title.
The Union Health Ministry on December 29th 2016 unveiled the draft Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2016 according to which MBBS students will now be required to qualify the National Exit Test (NEXT).
The test is anticipated to create a level-playing field in Medical education which is progressively becoming privatized.
A Central Government Official stated that National Exit Test (NEXT) will help enhance the quality of medical education in the nation and help benchmark students.
The bill suggests that 50% seats in all government medical colleges should be reserved for Government/UT medical officers.
Only the medical officers who have served in remote and difficult areas will be eligible for the quota.
And after getting a PG degree through this quota, the candidate will be required to serve in difficult and/or remote area for 3 more years.
NEXT will substitute 3 tests
1. NEET for PG admissions
2. Foreign Graduate Medical Examination
3. Recruitment for Central Health Services.
NEXT will be an outcome-based test
The results of how candidates from individual colleges have performed in NEXT will be made public. In case a college has more than 90% of candidates qualifying NEXT, it will automatically serve as an indicator that the college provides quality education and candidates will then be able to make an informed choice while selecting colleges.
Dr P Shingare, Head of State Department of Medical Education & Research stated that NEXT is a good move. He added that Students from different universities cannot be equated in terms of their medical competence and NEXT will bring about standardization in this direction.
A professor stated that an inspection by authorities can merely rate the infrastructure of a college and the outcome of NEXT will serve as a tangible parameter to ascertain the quality of that college.
To download the official notification, visit: http://www.mohfw.nic.in/
Exit exam likely after MBBS, BDS to practice medicine in India
Medical students in India might have to clear a National Exit Test (NEXT) after MBBS to be able to practice medicine in the country, if a draft Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2016 proposed by the health ministry comes into force. In addition, NEXT may also be the basis for postgraduate admission, thereby, replacing NEET PG.
The proposed draft bill includes a new section-10E Exit Exam, which states the following:
(a)There shall be conducted a uniform national exit test (NEXT) to all medical educational institutions at the undergraduate level through such designated authority in English and in such manner as may be prescribed and the designated authority shall ensure the conduct of uniform national exit test in the aforesaid manner
(b) NEXT would substitute the uniform entrance examination at postgraduate level provided for in section 10D of the Principal Act.
Section 10 D provides for uniform medical entrance exams to all institutions at both undergraduate and postgraduate level separately.
The objective of introducing NEXT is to standardize medical education in India and at the same time do away with multiple PG-level medical entrance examinations. The NEXT exam, is being equated with Foreign Graduates Medical Exam, which graduates from foreign countries have to pass before they are given license to practice medicine in India.
NEXT will go a long way in helping the aspiring medical students to make the right choice while selecting the college.
A central government official has been quoted as saying to a national daily that NEXT will be an outcome-based test. The results of how students from individual colleges have performed in NEXT will be made public. If a college has over 90% students clearing the test, it will automatically act as an indicator. Students can make an informed choice while selecting colleges, the official was quoted.
Dr. Sneh Bhargava, Medical Director, Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research (former Director AIIMS New Delhi) says that one national level exit exam is in the line of global standard of quality check for aspiring MBBS/BDS.
“I am of the view that there should be one national level exit exam because academic quality varies from college to college. US already has this system and those who are good get into the profession while the rest are barred from practicing,” she says favouring the proposed exit exam post MBBS.
All these articles are published between 2015 to 2017