Gayatri, a girl from a small town in Madhya Pradesh, was anxiously trying to locate her name in the list of eligible candidates for admission into government medical college after the NEET 2019 result was out. Gayatri’s father owns a small grocery shop but he has a dream of watching her daughter in a white apron with a stethoscope around her neck. Even after scoring decent marks in NEET-UG 2019 Gayatri could not manage a seat in any government college. Precisely, because the cut off was unexpectedly high this time and the number of government seats is abysmally low in India. Gayatri’s case is not a single one but there are many more candidates like her who dream of becoming a doctor but their economical condition could not allow them to fulfill their dream.

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Another case of such a medico aspirant is that of Aakriti. Her score was exactly equal to that of Gayatri. The only difference was that she could get the admission through management quota in a privately funded medical college. Aakriti’s father is a renowned businessman and he owns a big firm. He could obviously pay for her daughter’s fees and fulfill her dreams. Her father is rich, unlike Gayatri’s father who is a middle-class shopkeeper.

Difficulties in Pursuing Medical Career in India

The case of these two girls is an epitome of the current situation of medical education in India. On one side there are a limited number of government-aided medical colleges. On the other side, there are privately funded medical colleges that have stratospheric fees for MBBS course. These private medical colleges, though they are governed by the Medical Council of India, still they have abysmally high fees. There’s no regulation or capping on the fees of these private medical colleges for the MBBS course. The situation is getting more worse when the number of seats is limited as compared to the number of applicants. Every year there is humungous growth in the number of applicants for NEET exam.

How actively is Government trying to help?

The current scenario is such that even after increasing the number of seats, not everyone can pursue a career as a medico. There has been an increase in the number of MBBS seats this year. Also, the admission process has been monitored to maintain the transparency. The government has taken strict actions to punish the defaulters by canceling the license of many medical colleges. Those colleges which do not fulfill the criteria set by the Medical Council of India were not allowed to take admissions for the MBBS course this year. According to a report, the Union health ministry has denied 82 existing medical colleges’ permission to accept students for the 2018-19 academic session. This resulted in blocking at least 10,430 of the estimated 64,000 MBBS seats available nationwide. (The Telegraph, Tue, 17 September 2019).

This action of the government has repercussions on the aspiring candidates. Due to the low number of government seats in the MBBS course candidates are highly demotivated from pursuing their career in the medical field. Not everyone has a strong economic background to afford MBBS education from any private medical college. As a result, even after rigorous hard work and preparation, they are unable to fulfill their dream of becoming a doctor.

What can be done?

The medical entrance exam has to have a standard level of difficulty. The questions should be designed in such a manner that even a student from a poor economic background can tackle them after a good preparation. But it is seen that there remains a huge gap between those who are having all the amenities for preparation and those who lack such amenities. There has been a growing trend of private coaching institutes. These institutes demand a large sum of money for making the candidates prepare for the MBBS entrance exam. These facilities could be availed only by those students who belong to the upper strata of the society. It is a dream for those who live in the remotest part of the country with very few aids. Such disparity is very common in today’s times when the demand for private coaching institutes has increased.

Why becoming a Doctor is so valuable?

Pursuing Medical Career in India so many obstacles. Still, there’s a great hue and cry about studying MBBS. Studying medicine is considered to be one of the most prestigious career options in India. A doctor is seen as an image of God, who can save so many ailing patients. If this career option is so important, then it is obvious that everyone will try to pursue it in their life. Hence, there needs to be some steps taken in favor of these hardworking aspirants.

Essentials for Becoming a Doctor?

In this article, I am going to give an overview of pursuing Medical Career in India. To pursue a career in medico the very basic requirements are

  • To pass class 12th with the subjects of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology from a recognized Board/University
  • A candidate should fulfill a minimum marks for being eligible to sit for NEET

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is a national level entrance exam for getting admission into government and private medical colleges in India. NEET UG is conducted by NTA (National Testing Agency). NTA is a government-approved body for conducting higher level entrance exams. NEET UG is conducted once in a year, usually in May and the results are declared by June end or first week of July. Once the results are declared those medical colleges, approved by MCI, releases their respective cutoff lists. The candidates who clear the cutoff are allowed to sit for the counseling. After counseling the eligible candidate gets admission in a medical college.

What next after MBBS?

The journey begins after the candidate gets admission into the college. They have to complete a 5.5 year of course duration (4.5-year academic education and 1 year of mandatory internship). Since MBBS is a professional course so after completing the studies one has total job security. An MBBS graduate may go for a PG degree in the domain of M.S(Master of Surgery) or M.D (Master of Medicine). Also, they can start practicing as Junior Doctors, Physician, Junior Surgeon, Medical Lecturer or Professor, Scientists, etc. But the path after completing MBBS degree is not as smooth as it appears. One has to cross many hurdles in order to make their future secure and earn a good amount of money.

Is it a long haul to carry?

MBBS is certainly not an easy carrier option. One has to devote completely to the course to become a successful doctor. The field of medicine stands the taste of time. But, it has become an adage to pursue a career in the field of medicine. The number of applicants is increasing every year. And their chances of getting selected for the admission is abysmally low. The ratio of the total number of seats and the number of applicants is very small. Thus, it becomes skeptical to suggest medical education as a perfect career choice.

There is no doubt that the value of a doctor is incomparable. The satisfaction one gets by saving one’s life is much more heartening. But the situation in our country is not justifying the popularity of pursuing medicine as a career option. India, no doubt, has some of the most renowned and prestigious medical colleges. The quality education which they provide is totally non-negotiable. But they have a very limited number of intakes. The ones that are funded privately have unreasonably high college fees.

How to Choose a Medical College?

Now the question comes about choosing the best medical college in India. In fact, most of the medical colleges have a good ranking and they provide quality education and learning. But when it comes to the best among these then we have a list of top ten medical colleges in India. According to the ranking given by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, 2019:

        COLLEGE

              CITY

          FUNDING

AVG. ANNUAL FEES (INR)

All India Institute of Medical Sciences

New Delhi, Delhi

Govt.

 4,228

Christian Medical College

Vellore, Tamil Nadu

Private

48000

Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research

Kochi, Kerala

Private

1,869,000

Banaras Hindu University

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Govt.

13,410

Kasturba Medical College

Manipal, Karnataka

Private

5,850,000

Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate and Research

Pondicherry

Govt.

12,620

King George’s Medical University

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Govt.

61,700

St. John’s Medical College

Bangalore, Karnataka

Private

55,6400

Aligarh Muslim University

Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh

Govt.

37,890

Maulana Azad Medical College

New Delhi, Delhi

Govt.

2,445

College Fees Analysis: Government vs Private

These are a few top colleges ranked by NIRF for the year 2018-19, offering MBBS course for 5 years. The most interesting thing to be noted in this rank list is the variation in annual fees of all these 10 colleges for the same course. There can be seen a humongous difference in the course fees of all these colleges, where the government-aided colleges have extremely low fees as compared to the ones which are privately funded. This disparity is very significant because the aspirants need to know about how much they can pay for pursuing their career in the field of medicine.

The dream of becoming a doctor may get shattered at once if a candidate is unable to secure a seat in a government medical college. The ones who can afford to pay the stratospheric fees of private medical college may pursue their career as a medico, but even they have to score decent marks to get admission. Pursuing medical career in India is still a dream come true for many aspirants.

Changes made in the Medical Education

The Medical Council of India has laid a strict set of rules for the management quota seats and no college can take admission of any student by ignoring those rules. The recent National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2019 includes replacing Medical Council of India (MCI) with National Medical Commission (NMC), determination of fees for up to 50% of seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities and Common final year MBBS exam, National Exit Test (NEXT) which would serve as licentiate exam and replace the entrance to PG medical courses.

These changes might be favorable for the future medico aspirants. There might be a capping on the unreasonable fees levied by the private medical colleges in India. The admission process may become more transparent and fair because the NMC will keep proper surveillance over the seat allocation and admission process for the MBBS course. These changes could appear to be drastic for the new aspirants but eventually, it will be benefitting them with its proposed set of actions.

Concluding with the Case-Story of Gayatri and Aakriti

Henceforth, I would like to bring the issue with which I started my article with the case of Gayatri and Aakriti, two girls from different economic backgrounds but with the same dream of pursuing medical career in India. The path for Gayatri was not an easy one, and she had to cross all the hardships and carry long haul to fulfill her dreams. For Aakriti, the path of becoming a doctor might appear to be an easier one because she could at least afford to manage an entry into a medical college.

There have been many such cases in the past and the current situation has not improved much. There’s much to be done in the field of medical education in India and in my opinion the first step, to begin with, could be scrapping all the private coaching institutes which run the “business” in the name of education. I am not saying to completely curb these centers, but at least they should be favorable for students belonging to all backgrounds. They should open the entry for the aspirants from poor economic background by lowering their tuition fees. In this manner, such unprivileged students could get an equal opportunity to participate in the entrance exam and the competition would be more equitable.

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