November 15, 2007

Knowledge panel for all-India entrance exam for MBBS

In a move that will affect lakhs of students across India, the National Knowledge Commission has asked the Centre to scrap state-level common entrance tests and conduct all-India entrance test for admission to medical colleges.

An NKC working group, which has comprehensively appraised the medical education system, has called for overhauling of the present system. "Policies of admission and fee structure of private colleges have to be regulated, not only to stop them from becoming sources of political and financial power, but also to arrest failing standards," NKC chairman Sam Pitroda told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week.

The group in its report, which is with TOI, has said, "There should be only one all-India common entrance test for all students who would like to get admissions to self-financing medical colleges. Since the CBSE-conducted examination for the 15% all-India quota in government medical colleges is taken by a large number of students, this appears to be an ideal examination, whose ambit can be expanded."

To make admissions transparent, the commission has said colleges must announce their fees in their prospectus, so that students can make their choice. Computers and IT should be used to increase transparency and efficiency in admission, examination, administration and teaching, it says.

More significantly, the group has sought an independent and standardised national exit examination at the end of four-and-half-year course to assess skills and knowledge acquired by students. This should be conducted immediately after the university examination and can also serve as a post-graduate entrance exam.

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