Medical Education Governance in India

[op-ed snap] Back to the blackboard

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : NEET - findings and need to reorient

Context

Recent data from Tamil Nadu that became available through the Madras High Court showed a clear link between coaching classes and securing a medical seat. This is a worrisome situation. 

Data

    • As per data submitted to the Madras High Court by the government of Tamil Nadu, the bulk of the students who secured MBBS seats in the State in 2019 had taken coaching classes to prepare for the exam. 
    • Only 1.6 % of all students who joined the government medical colleges had managed to get a seat without undergoing any preparatory coaching program. 
    • Even in private medical colleges, only a marginally higher – 3.2% had got through without coaching classes. 
    • Data also showed that a significant percentage of students in both government (66.2) and private colleges (64.4) had to take multiple attempts at NEET to score a seat. 
    • The costs of coaching classes are huge and run into lakhs of rupees. It clearly puts medical education out of the reach of the poorer sections.

Opposition to NEET by TN

    • Cost – prohibitive cost factor has been in the list of arguments against NEET right from the beginning. 
    • Out of reach to many – It would keep a segment of students out of the race was the point posited by the State, citing the example set by the IIT-Joint Entrance Examination. 
    • Marginalised groups – coaching classes would determine entry to courses and put out of the race, students who were poor, or hailed from rural areas. 
    • Quality of education – the shortcoming in this sector makes expensive coaching classes the norm. 
    • State of classrooms – reports such as the ASER have revealed sad neglect of a key nation-building function — school education. 

Way ahead

    • Ensuring that quality education is imparted at schools by well-trained teachers would obviate the need for coaching outside of classes. 
    • NEET hopes to choose the best students for a career in medicine and remains value-neutral in every other way. 
    • States should put in place a series of steps that would make learning meaningful and fun for children, and in the interim, provide free NEET coaching classes to help disadvantaged students make that leap.
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