NEET 2018 for Medical Students
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Against over 12 Lac + students aspiring to become Doctors in India every year, the available seats in India are only approximately 50,000, of which almost 50% are reserved, while another 15% is management quota. The tuition fees in the Private Medical Colleges in India go up to almost Rs. ONE CRORE for the 5+ year duration of the MBBS course, besides other expenses like hostel accommodation, food, study material etc. making it beyond the reach of average Indian families.
These families are forced to send the students abroad, where the tuition fees are less than half of what they would incur in India. Hence, every year over 3000+ students go abroad for their medical education, after procuring minimum 50% marks in their 12th Grade in Physics, Chemistry & Biology.
Currently as per Medical Council of India guidelines, all students returning to India after completing their medical education abroad have to compulsorily pass MCI’s Screening Test, only after which they can practice in India or do post-graduation studies in India. This is perfectly fine & logical.
Currently, all students aspiring to get admission in any medical college in India have to qualify the NEET exam, based on which they get their admission in various Indian medical colleges. This is perfectly fine.
Now, the Government of India / MCI wants students wanting to pursue medical education OUTSIDE India, POST MAY 2018, also to FIRST QUALIFY for NEET and then go abroad for their education. In this regard, the problem arises for students who have already gone abroad in 2016 & 2017. For example, in Philippines, Indian students after getting above 50% marks in Physics, Chemistry & Biology (in 12th Grade) get admission first for Pre Med course of 4 semesters initially, after which they get admission for MD (equivalent to our MBBS), ONLY after they get at least 60% marks in the local Common Admission Test conducted for all the 90+ Philippines Universities, called the NMAT (National Medical Admission Test). Hence, Indian students have to first clear the 4 Pre Med Semesters, then clear the NMAT, after which they get admission to MD, and after completing this course, they have to clear the Screening Test in India conducted by MCI.
For those students who have adhered to the passing norms prevailing in 2016, and gone to Philippines, presently in their 4th Pre Med Semester , and also cleared the local NMAT exams, now will have to STOP THEIR EDUCATION MIDWAY and RETURN TO INDIA to appear and qualify for NEET 2018, and then go back to Philippines to complete their MD course. Is this logical?
If the concern of the Indian authorities is that the quality of education abroad is not up to the mark, the MCI already has in place a safeguard wherein each foreign educated Medical student has to qualify the Screening Test before they can practice in India or do post-graduation studies in India. Surprisingly, MCI does not have a similar Screening Test for students graduating from Indian (Private) Medical Colleges and this test is only for students graduating from outside India. Neither does the Government have any such screening tests for Engineering Graduates from abroad, or for that matter any other course other than medicine.
We earnestly request the Medical Council of India, The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the Prime Minister’s Office, to understand the predicament of students WHO HAVE ALREADY LEFT INDIA IN 2016 to pursue pre-medical education followed by medical education, TO EXEMPT THEM FROM APPEARING AND QUALIFYING NEET 2018, AS PROPOSED, AS THESE STUDENTS HAVE ALREADY INVESTED 2 YEARS OF THEIR CAREER IN PURSUING MEDICAL EDUCATION, AND HAVE A FURTHER ALMOST 4 YEARS TO GO.
While the Government has said that their new rule is applicable for students getting admission for Medical Studies abroad POST MAY 2018, they should understand that technically students who have already gone to Philippines in 2016, have to compulsorily pass 4 semesters of Pre Med education, then qualify for NMAT, only after that they TECHNICALLY BEGIN their MD COURSE later this year. HENCE THE CUT-OFF DATE OF MAY2018 PROPOSED BY THE GOVERNMENT WILL ALSO INCLUDE STUDENTS WHO HAVE ALREADY LEFT INDIA IN 2016, WHICH IS TOTALLY UNFAIR.
If at all the Government still wants to continue with its new policy, the least it can do is to extend the cut-off date and clarify that students pursuing overseas Pre Med courses currently and who qualify in NMAT shall not have to appear for NEET 2018.
The authorities should also understand that by inconveniencing the students and increasing their education costs, indirectly increases the cost of Health Care in India, which directly affects every Indian citizen.
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