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Diagnosing what ails medical education

  • 28 September, 2020

  • 8 Min Read

Diagnosing what ails medical education


  • The article analyses how confusion over policy for human resource development and economic policy is affecting quality, equity and integrity in the field of medical education.


About The National Education Policy 2020:

  • The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aims to provide universal access to quality education and bridge the gap between the current state of learning outcomes and what is required.
  • This will be achieved by undertaking major reforms that bring the highest quality, equity and integrity into the system, from early childhood care and education through higher education.
  • In addition to the issues of access and equity, the present policy lays emphasis on quality and holistic learning.
  • In a brief paragraph on medical education, it states that the aim is to train health care professionals primarily required for working in primary care and secondary hospitals.

Private entities in the field of medical education:

  • Successive governments have been faced with the practical dilemma of quickly expanding educational opportunities while simultaneously addressing the issues of quality and equity.
  • There is a continuing shortage of healthcare personnel. The infrastructure required for high-quality modern medical education is expensive.
  • Private entities have been permitted to establish medical educational institutions to supplement government efforts.
  • Though they are supposed to be not-for-profit, the private entities, taking advantage of the poor regulatory apparatus, have completely commercialized education.
  • The overwhelming majority of private medical colleges provide poor quality education at extremely high costs.
  • None of the three stated objectives of medical education has been achieved by the private sector — that is:
    1. Providing healthcare personnel to all parts of the country
    2. Ensuring quality
    3. Improving equity


  • While there have been attempts by the government and the courts, on and off, to regulate fees, efforts have not been fruitful.
  • The executive, primarily the Medical Council of India, has proven unequal to the task of ensuring that private institutions comply with regulations.
  • It was in this situation that the board of governors, which replaced the Medical Council of India, as an interim before the National Medical Commission became operative, introduced the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate), or NEET-UG, as a single all-India gateway for admission to medical colleges.

NEET has worsened equity:

  • It is well known that despite the NEET entrance exam, seats were being sold to the highest bidder.
  • Challenged in courts, after an initial setback, the NEET scheme has been upheld.
  • NEET may have improved the quality of candidates admitted to private institutions to some extent, but it seems to have further worsened equity.
  • With NEET, the number of students from government schools who were able to get admission to a medical college has become very low.

Way forward:

  • The basic cause of inequity in admission to higher educational institutions is the absence of a high-quality school system accessible to all.
  • The government must stay determined to ensure that economic policy facilitates quality and equity in education.
  • Allowing government medical colleges to admit students based on marks in Standard XII and using NEET scores for admission to private colleges could be a more equitable option at the moment.

Source: TH


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