MCI to enforce NEET for medical education in non English speaking countries


 National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) will emerge as the mandatory screening test for Indian students to pursue for medical education not only in India but abroad as well. Students who are aspiring for Medical education abroad are required to write NEET examination from 2018 onwards. Around 53000 Indian students are studying abroad for Medical, Dental programmes. Taking into account the need for quality assurance among the medical graduates, Medical Council of India (MCI) is planning to emphasise eligibility for getting admission to foreign medical education especially in non English speaking countries like China, Russia, Ukraine, Philippines, Malaysia, Georgia, etc.

Students who are interested to pursue medical education from English speaking countries like UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand won’t require NEET. But selection to under graduate premedical courses are through SAT and TOEFL/IELTS English proficiency examinations. After completing four year premedical BS programme they can apply for MCAT-Medical college admission Test and try to get admission to graduate medical programmes in English speaking countries.
But Medical graduates from non English speaking countries should write licentiate examination or PG NEET or FMGE stipulated in the forthcoming National Medical Council to get registration to practice in India. Till this year the success rate among foreign medical graduates was only 14-27 percent. Taking in to account the low level of pass percentage, MCI will introduce plus two Physics, Chemistry and Biology with minimum NEET cut off marks as the eligibility criteria. Students aspiring for medical education in non English speaking countries are required to get eligibility certificate from MCI.
Of the total number of students studying for medical education abroad, 75 percent are from India of which more than 3/4th is from Kerala. Recently when I visited several medical schools in Georgia including Tbilisi Medical School, I could see more than 75 percent medical students from Kerala. The move to introduce NEET as the eligibility test will position the medical education to attain quality. Moreover it will facilitatebright students to pursue for medical education abroad so that after completing the 6 year of Doctor of Medicine programme which is equivalent to MBBS in India, they can successfully complete Licensing examination for MCI registration.
Umpteen numbers of private educational consultancies are working in this field. Annual turnover in this sector especially from India is more than Rs. 1000 Crores.  Moreover with regard to NEET coaching in India turnover is more than Rs 1500 Crores. If medical council can enable to establish more medical colleges and to increase the number seats In India, huge drain of money from India can be reduced. 2018-19 Central budget proposed to establish 24 new medical colleges in parliament constituencies.
Medical education and coaching for NEET are emerging as one of the commercial enterprise ventures in the country. During 2017 10.5 lakh students appeared for NEET. More than 10 percent of the students appearing for NEET are from Kerala. But available seats for MBBS and BDS are 55000 and 25000 respectively. It is a fact that lot of aspirants are from India to pursue for medical education, but number of seats are limited. Taking in to account the situation, need of the hour is to increase the number of seats with appropriate infrastructure facilities so that required number doctors as per WHO norms can be attained in the country.

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