April 06, 2009

Medicine out, engineering in for science students

Jigar Patel, who appeared for his XII (science) final exams recently is on cloud nine. On Sunday, he appeared for the Pre-Medical Test (PMT), moving a step closer to his dream career of becoming a heart specialist.

But, the likes of Jigar are fast becoming extinct! Going by the number of examinees in PMT from Gujarat, takers for a career in medicine are fast dropping. From a number of more than 6,800 wannabe doctors in 2006, the number has dropped to 3,613 in 2009.

Why? You are not the only one asking this question. There is however no clear answer to this. The most plausible explanation is that, career choices keep changing and presently, a career in engineering is preferred. This is reflected in the growing number of applicants for All India Engineering Entrance Exams (AIEEE).

PMT co-ordinator of Ahmedabad, Dr Hemant Shah from Prakash school, says: "Across the country, 1.45 lakh students in 28 cities appeared for the PMT this year. Though the dip is a national trend, Gujarat is witnessing the worst example of this. Most PMT examinees here are from Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)."

More than 3,500 students from cities like Surat, Rajkot, Ahmedabad and Vadodara appeared at seven PMT centres in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar on Sunday.

This drop in number of students opting for careers in medicine has concerned educationists in the state. "The reason could be anything, for example, only 15 per cent of those who give the PMT get admission in government medical colleges. This could be a deterrent," said sources in GSHSEB.

Dean of BJ Medical college, Dr Bharat Shah, spoke about another contributory factor: "It takes 10 years to complete the medical course while engineering students graduate in four years and get lucrative jobs as well. The engineering market is booming now and jobs are easy to come by. Number of engineering seats in government and private colleges and institutions are five times more than medical."

HB Bhalodia, dean of GU, medical faculty added: "Each student after toiling for 10 years has to then invest to setup his or her own clinic. These practical aspects are pushing the fixation with medical careers down. Percentage and results of students decide careers."

Link: Original Article

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