September 03, 2007

Doubts raised over quality of MBBS training in China

While China has decided to reduce the number of Indian students in its medical colleges - to 30 per college - on the ground that foreign students were diluting the quality of education, a fact-finding mission sent by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has raised serious concerns about the quality of medical education provided at some of the Chinese universities.

Notably, the mission is known to have doubted the practical, training aspect of the course. The visiting team comprised two ministry representatives and 12 doctors, including principals, medical superintendents and deans of medical colleges across India.
From June 3 to June 17, the team visited six medical colleges across China, including Southern Medical College and Jinan University, Guanzhou and Luzhou Medical College, Luzhou, among others.

Highly-placed ministry sources said the team was sent on the Indian Embassy's request. In its report submitted to the ministry, the mission is learnt to have raised a few questions on the clinical and hands-on training offered as part of the programmes.

A member of the mission said: "Most of the students are at the pre-clinical stage. We have submitted a report, stating facts like lack of adequate number of teachers and that the Chinese faculty in these colleges have very little knowledge of English."

The team also questioned the lack of entrance exams to admit students. Joint secretary, ministry of health and family welfare, K Ramamoorthy, was part of the mission.

According to Dr Amod Gupta, faculty of ophthalmology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, "How can just five or six faculty conduct an MBBS programme even for a year, when we need a whole team of faculty and paramedicals even to run a single department? These students will be good in theory and will clear the Medical Council of India's screening test, but will they be able to treat people?"

A second-year MBBS student of Jinan University told TOI: "They are running a complete MBBS programme with just four or five teachers for the past two years. And we are told that in the third year, we will not have clinical. What is the use of theory to a doctor without hands-on experience?"

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