Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New MCI panel faces acid test in revamping med edu

The new five-member governing body of the Medical Council of India (MCI) will meet for the first time on Wednesday. The earlier board's tenure ended on May 15. The biggest challenge for the new board, headed by noted cardiologist Dr. K.K. Talwar is to implement the Common Entrance Test (CET) for undergraduate students and the new medical curriculum. Some members of the former board fear that the move could get thwarted.

"We have submitted all the documents to the (health) ministry, including the revised undergraduate curriculum, CET, postgraduate regulations, codes on medical ethics, accreditation and the concept of Indian Medical Graduate. At least some of them should see the light of day," an ex-member said. The member added, "A lot of work went into developing India's new medical curriculum and syllabi. About 250 people worked on it, and we had as many as seven working groups."

TOI was the first to report that the ministry would change all the MCI members. Last Friday, the ministry named Dr. Talwar as the new Chairman of the all-powerful board of governors. Other members include Prof. K.S. Sharma from Tata Memorial Hospital, Prof. Harbhajan Singh Rassam from Max Hospital and Dr. Rajiv Chintaman Yeravdekar from Symbiosis International University. Dr. Talwar told TOI, "I need some time to decide about our main issues."

Sources said the ministry was upset with the Sarin-led governing board's pace of work. It had supposedly failed to increase the number of postgraduate medical seats to the "desired level" in this academic session. "We were surprised that not a single member from the previous board was retained," said an MCI official.

Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was also upset with the earlier board for its unilateral announcement of introduction of the controversial CET. The MCI and the ministry were at odds over the notification, which was later deemed invalid. The notification had sought a single entrance test for MBBS and MD courses offered by all 271 medical colleges in the country, including those under private management. The move had put the ministry under pressure from several states. The 77-year-old MCI was dissolved after the CBI arrested former MCI president Dr. Ketan Desai on April 22, 2010, for accepting a bribe of Rs. 20 million in lieu of recognizing a Punjab medical college.

Source: The Times of India, May 17, 2011

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