real concern

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 18 Jan 2018 11:34:03

PRESIDENT Mr. Ram Nath Kovind has highlighted a national concern when he worried that the number of medical educational seats in the country is too small against the actual need of the country. He has appealed to the authorities to take all steps to overcome regulatory impediments so that more number of youngsters could take to medical education and serve a great national cause. Everybody would share the President’s concern. 

However, there are many provisos that actually impede the process of enhancing the number of medical educational seats in the country. Most unfortunately, about a quarter of century ago that the Government started following vigorously the policy of promoting private institutions imparting medical education. And as it started pursuing this policy, the Government started ignoring the medical colleges it was running through the States. Nobody ever accepted this charge that the Government was deliberately ignoring its own medical colleges to favour private institutions. Yet, it is common knowledge that the charge is more than true. In several Government-run medical colleges, the problem of certified seats is becoming worse. For, the Medical Council of India (MCI) comes down heavily against failure of the Government medical colleges in fulfilling norms and cuts down the number of allotted seats. And almost exactly the opposite seems to be happening in the private institutions whose ability to fulfill the norms is equally suspect. Despite that, the number of seats available in private medical colleges has steadily gone up over time, as against the restricted numbers in Government-run college. This is actually the President’s concern.

Yet, the admissions to private medical institutions are very expensive for obvious reasons. These colleges always run short of required number of teachers as well, and are known to indulge in lots of manipulations to ‘show’ the adequacy in teachers’ numbers when the MCI inspection takes place periodically. All the practices that generally go on in private medical colleges apart, taking medical education there is well beyond the reach of youngsters from families with moderate means. That restricts the flow of youngsters to those colleges.

Thus, the current medical education in the country is torn between two extremes. One end is represented by the Government medical colleges where quality of education is good but resources limited despite official patronage. The other is represented by the private medical colleges where, too, resources are limited for obvious reasons but the gap is filled by money the students pay. This is a complex situation whose solution the Government has never sought in complete seriousness.

Unfortunately, the Government medical colleges suffer from administrative apathy and philosophical commitment. The private institutions suffer from the same malaise -- with little commitment to high standard of education. The result is that average Indian patient is likely to find a superficial approach to the treatment of ailments. For, the cumulative effect of such an educational pattern is commercial on the doctors’ minds. So, when the suspicion comes up about integrity of treatment, doctors find themselves under attack by patients’ relatives and friends.

This entire scenario has been well highlighted by President Mr. Ram Nath Kovind. He has pinpointed a malady and has urged the nation to find appropriate solutions. May that happen at the earliest. May the authorities see the good sense of promoting Government medical colleges, too, along with the support to private institutions. Once that balance is restored, many good things would start happening. For the time being, the nation must thank Mr. Kovind for picking up this national concern.