Medical Council ponders common entrance exam for budding doctors
Jun 29, 2010 - 8:09:54 PM

The Medical Council of India , the apex medical education regulator, Tuesday said a common entrance exam for medical courses is on the cards.

The board of governors that took over the functioning of MCI May 24 also pitched for keeping the regulation of medical education under the overall control of the health ministry.

The board, led by eminent gastroenterologist S.K. Sarin, proposed a common entrance test for medical courses from the next academic session across the country.

'A common entrance test will reduce the hassles for students appearing for medical exams. At present, students have to give 10-12 different exams for medical courses,' Sarin said.

The board is now consulting the Central Board of Secondary Education - for conducting the exam.

'The CBSE is enthusiastic about the proposal,' he said.

The common entrance test is proposed to cover both under-graduate and post-graduate courses conducted by private and government medical colleges.

According to the MCI, there are nearly 32,000 under-graduate seats and 13,000 post-graduate seats for medical courses.

The announcement comes at a time when the human resource development - ministry has proposed a combined medical and engineering entrance.

Board members, however, say the discussions have not yet reached that level as yet.

'It is still premature to comment on that, what we want is a common entrance for medical exams. Whether this common entrance will be conducted in tandem with the HRD minister's proposal or not is yet to be ascertained,' board member Sita Naik said.

Backing the continuation of health education under the health ministry, Sarin said the health ministry is supportive of the idea.

'Health education must be a part of the health ministry as it is crucial to the whole health infrastructure,' Sarin said.

Stressing the need for more medical colleges, he said the focus should be on backward areas. He also suggested opening medical colleges in rural areas as an effective tool to increase number of doctors in these areas.

'A person who has lived all his life in a city will not go to rural areas. If we open medical colleges there -, those students will stay there and serve the local population,' he said.

The board, however, has not taken a decision on the separate rural medical courses proposed by the health ministry.

The board took over the role of medical education regulator after then MCI chief Ketan Desai was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation April 23 for demanding Rs.2 crore to grant recognition to a medical college in Punjab. Two employees of the college and an alleged middleman were also arrested.

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