MBBS might not be-enough to be doctor as govt plans another qualifying-exam

New Delhi: An national level exit exam, may soon be a reality for clearing MBBS in the country. Niti Ayog in its Draft National Medical Commission Bill, 2016 has put forward both a National Entry and Exit Exam towards regulation of the medical education in the country.

While proposing various structural changes, including establishment of the National Medical Commission as the apex body towards regulation of the medical education in the country, has also recommended a Common Licentiate Examination (Exit Exam) after completion of the undergraduate medical degree, to enter medical practice. This came based on A Preliminary Report of the Committee on the Reform of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, which clearly states

The committee is of the view that we must provide for a statutory basis for common entrance examination for admissions to under-graduate and post-graduate courses in Medical institutions so that there is a transparent admissions process based on merit rather than  ability to pay capitation fee. We must also provide for a statutory basis for a Common Licentiate Examination for practice by medical professionals after completion of the undergraduate medical degree. Central Government may also prescribe skill tests as necessary, as part of Licentiate examinations to ensure medical professionals have appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes for providing health care as per societal needs.

Keeping the above view in mind the committee has put forward the following main suggestions (summary)

a. There should be an all-India National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for intake of students in the medical colleges based on merit.

b. Similarly, the Commission/ Board(s) shall be charged with the responsibility of conducting a Common Licentiate Examination after the completion of undergraduate medical education. Passing the Common Licentiate Exam will be mandatory for license to practice and for registration in the Indian medical register. This examination shall also serve as the NEET for admission to the PG courses in Medical Educational Institutions.

c. The common licentiate exam shall come into force from such date as appointed by the Central Government but in any case not later than 3 years from the date of coming into force of this Act. This is to provide sufficient time for transition arrangements to be put in place.

d. This would ensure common standards of knowledge and skills for Doctors on a Nation-wide basis and would also constitute an objective benchmark to judge outcomes of the medical education process in any given institution.

e. The Committee deliberated upon creating an enabling statutory provision of a similar licentiate examination in the PG and other Super-Speciality Courses. However, it was unanimously decided that we should desist from creating a statutory provision in this regard for the following reasons:

1.Given the diversity of courses and in the practices across states, it would be difficult to evolve a common template.

2. Given that the population in question would have already appeared in two different examinations [NEET and the Licentiate Exams], the quality would have been assured.

3.Since NBE is contemplated to play an important role in shaping the functions of the PGMEB, they could continue conducting the system of voluntary examinations with those institutions/ candidates who are willing to voluntarily take part in such a process.

f. The Committee also deliberated upon inserting an additional enabling provision of voluntary recertification/ renewal of license exam once every ten years which is prevalent in many countries but it concluded that while desirable in the long run this may not be an appropriate time for such a radical step. The proposed changes will already entail substantial transition from the old to a new system and it would be imprudent to frontload this change.


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