Flaws in the Medical Education System in India


India has one of the largest medical education systems in the world but still, the doctor to population ratio in India (which is, approximately 0.5:1000) is lower than mandated by the World Health Organization (which is, 1:1000). The number of medical colleges in India is over 250 producing about 30,000 medical graduates every year, even so, the ratio of doctor to population is very low. This is happening because about 50% of the medical graduates either go for residency training and/or for practice in other countries. The remaining graduates consist of a population that has bribed their way through the process of medical training and are thus very unqualified to be treating people. However, this can be prevented if medical colleges start conducting entrance exams such that there are no other means to join the institution other than clearing the examination. Some of these exams include AIAPGET, PGIMER, JIPMER, etc.

Another reason the quality of medical education in India is not up to the mark is because of the lack of skilled teachers (which is a problem with the whole educational system of India), who are selected based on their academic knowledge and not the clinical training that they have received. This makes them unskilled to be able to impart proper education to the candidates studying under them. Another reason is that the salary is very inadequate which makes the profession of a medical professor very unattractive in India. 

The field of medicine and surgery is always developing, and constant breakthroughs are being made. This means that the content for education in the medical field does not remain constant but with the Indian Medical Education, the syllabus does not get updated for long periods of time, thus making the content that students are studying outdated and irrelevant. Due to this, the students graduating out of the medical university will need to spend time training and this will again cause a backlog with the number of qualified doctors being able to treat patients. If the quality of medical education must improve, then the syllabus needs to be adequately updated regarding the new trends in the medical field. 

Another major consideration in medical education is the specialties in the course that will decide the kind of doctor the student will graduate as i.e., either a surgeon, a dentist, orthopedic surgeon, pediatrician, etc. There are a lot of specialties for a student to choose from and usually what a lot of students do is take up a course in the most common specialty without thinking about what he/she wants to pursue. There are entrance exams dedicated to helping students to realize which specialty they would want to pursue such as the NEET MDS, NEET SS, etc. 

The Most Important Issues that Affect Medical Education in India are:

  • Low Doctor-Population Ratio
  • Deficiencies in the quality of medical education
  • Lack of social accountability
  • Recognition issue of foreign degrees
  • Unregulated Private Colleges

Being a doctor is not just knowing the anatomy or the functions of animal systems, it is also necessary that the individual has a keen sense of social responsibility and social empathy. The students who have graduated in recent years are completely unaware and/or indifferent towards their social responsibilities. The medical universities are supposed to help inculcate these values in the students but instead, they are just promoting rot learning in these students who will then graduate to be under-qualified doctors. The main reason that this happens is that students are being allowed to join the universities without having to clear entrance exams and this is not beneficial in any way. Entrance exams such as AIAPGET, ICAR AIEEA, AIIMS entrance test, JIPMER entrance test, etc. are supposed to make compulsory and other means of admission to the college are supposed to be removed. This will allow only the qualified students to be able to join medical or surgical courses and thus increase the quality of medical care in India. 

Another drawback of the medical education system in India is the MCI (Medical Council of India). This is the institution that is responsible for setting up the syllabus for education, scrutiny of the colleges they provide medical and surgical courses, etc. But this is one of the most incompetent authorities as it has not updated the syllabus, nor has it even thoroughly checked the facilities in some of the institutes for medical education. The MCI has become a council that looks out only for capitalization and not for quality, this is what created a decrease in the number of good medical personnel who want to practice in India. On the same note, students who graduated in foreign universities are unable to practice in India because of the stringent rules kept by the MCI. Even if the individual who graduated from a foreign university wants to pursue higher medical education in India, there are a lot of eligibility criteria to be fulfilled, even for entrance exams such a NEET MDS, NEET SS, AIIMS PG, etc.

The only way the quality of medical education in India can be improved is if the MCI is disembodied and revamped into another council and the introduction of an exit test that is common for all medical graduates to assess if they are qualified enough to be practicing or teaching. There is a need for comprehensive reforms to bring about the cleansing of the Indian Higher Education Systems.