NEXT will ensure new-breed of talented doctors
The implementation of the regulations in the regulations will automatically shut substandard colleges
The National Medical Commission (NMC) has recently released a set of draft regulations called ‘The Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations, 2021’. While the draft is still under consideration and is being deliberated upon by the concerned stakeholders, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has expressed its disapproval.Demanding the withdrawal of the draft, the IMA cites that the regulations will force the MBBS students to appear for National Exit Test (NEXT), which is a proposed common final year’s undergraduate medical examination to grant the licence to practice as a medical practitioner. The bill will also allow common counselling for all medical aspirants reducing the role of the state for admission.
Explaining the importance of adding these regulations in the draft, a senior official from Medical Education, Ministry of Health, says, “The NEXT is conducted across the developed countries to ensure the quality of doctors in the medical sector. Similar to NEET which keeps a check on the entry of quality medical aspirants in India, the NEXT will ensure doctors pass out with exceptional quality knowledge.”
Highlighting further he says, “Currently the private medical colleges admit students as doctors who would then start practising in the same college. This would lead to further compromise in the quality of doctors and treatment of patients. NEXT will be conducted once the student qualifies the final MBBS and will ensure that doctors with outstanding knowledge are conferred with the degrees.”
The process will also automatically shut substandard colleges, he adds. The colleges with a huge number of unsuccessful students will automatically close as no student would take admissions. “Also, this will reduce the need for regular inspection of medical colleges,” he adds.
Talking about the common counselling for medical aspirants proposed under the draft, he further adds, “The common counselling will not have any impact on the role of states in providing reservation or their domicile policy. The reservation and domicile policy in the admission process will remain as it is, only the software will be handled by the ministry. This is being introduced as per the request of students who had to move from one state to other for their counselling process. Students can join the counselling online from any part of the country.”
Earlier the state and private colleges would enrol students based on their separate entrance exam. This would again jeopardise the quality of students that were allowed to study medicine in the college. The new draft will allow all aspirants to pass through a common exam in order to qualify for a medical college, he explains.
Highlighting the implications of the new draft, Dr Aayush Rana, MBBS Intern SHKM Government Medical College, Nalhar, says, “NEXT is an entirely new exam that has been in discussion for quite a while now. This exam is soon going to replace the already existing NEET-PG exam. The bill gives us an idea that once a student appears for NEXT, the scores would stay valid for three years, and the candidate shall be allowed to appear again only after his previous score has expired. If you do not perform well as you are required to, to get a good PG seat, you are doomed for the next three years.”
Dr Somashekhar SP, chairman and HOD Surgical Oncology, Manipal Health Enterprises Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru, Karnataka, says, “ It takes around 10/12 years for a student to complete his/her entire medical education. During this period, they also undergo practical training and internships. In addition to all this, the draft now proposes a student for compulsory medical service in rural areas. Such provisions are discriminatory towards medical doctors as no other profession such as IITs, IIMs etc force professionals for compulsory service. Such provisions will discourage aspirants to apply for medicine.
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