May 05, 2010

PM may put medical education under NCHER

In a bid to stem the rot in medical education, the Prime Minister's Office has asked the HRD ministry to bring it under the purview of the proposed National Council for Higher Education and Research (NCHER).

In the present form, the NCHER Bill excludes medical and agriculture education. Inclusion of medical education in NCHER will mean that health ministry's proposal to set up a regulatory authority for medical education is likely to be shelved. PMO sources said a meeting between HRD and health ministry officials has already taken place on this issue.

Coming in wake of the arrest of MCI chief Ketan Desai, the decision can be seen as PMO's lack of confidence in health ministry's ability to clean the mess in medical education. Sources said, "The arrest of Desai has shown the extent to which the rot has spread. It can't be allowed." However, MCI's function as a regulatory to manage the medical profession will not be taken away.

Another reason for inclusion of medical education in the proposed NCHER is that the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority For Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010 provides for accreditation of higher educational institutions, including medical colleges. Another HRD Bill — Prohibition of Unfair Practices Bill — also accounts for malpractices in medical colleges. Both the Bills were introduced in the LS on Monday by HRD minister Kapil Sibal. Sources said it would have created a strange situation whereby medical education would have been under MCI/health ministry but accreditation and control of malpractices would have been under HRD.

The PMO's directive has come at a time when HRD ministry, after a nationwide consultation, is in the process of finetuning the NCHER Bill further. Sibal is planning to go on a retreat with experts like former NCERT director Krishna Kumar, Devesh Kapur of Pennsylvania University, educationist Vinod Raina, Pratap Bhanu Mehta of Centre for Policy Research, historian KN Pannikar and others for further consultations on NCHER.

Link: Original Article

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