July 07, 2010

Common entrance test for medical courses mooted

The newly constituted Board of Governors of the Medical Council of India (MCI) has proposed a common entrance test for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses in the country.

It is in consultation with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to work out the details for introducing the system from the next academic year.

The Board, constituted after the dissolution of the MCI on May 24, has already approached private medical colleges with the proposal, with some having informally expressed their support for it.

“The Director-General of Health Services is in the process of consulting the States and working out the finer details, and a final system will be announced by the end of next month,” S.K. Sarin, chairman of the Board, told journalists here on Tuesday.

“We hope to have a common entrance test by the next academic session,” Dr. Sarin said, adding that a single entrance test would reduce the stress level of the students, who at present have to sit for a minimum of seven tests to get admission to medical colleges.

There are about 17 entrance tests held across the country for admission into medical colleges with the CBSE, State governments and some private colleges having their own entrance examinations.

“We have already contacted the CBSE. It will decide how to go about it, including the syllabus. The test will cover all government, private and even minority institutions,” Dr. Sarin said.

“We are also consulting legal experts to study various judgments on the matter and look into the cases pending in the courts in this regard, including reservation in minority institutions, NRI seats and management quotas,” he added.

MERIT FOR RESERVED SEATS

According to Devi Shetty, member of the Board, a minority educational institution could have a minority quota and a private college could have a management quota, but the reserved seats would have to be filled on the basis of merit.

The MCI Board will also discuss the matter with the Human Resource Development Ministry that earlier this month announced a common entrance test for medical and engineering courses by combining the Pre-Medical Test (PMT) and the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE).

Of the 32,000 undergraduate seats in the country available annually, the CBSE conducts the test for 15,000 seats. And, there are 13,000 postgraduate seats in medical colleges are filled every year.

Also supporting the idea of an “exit” test, Dr. Sarin said the Board was going ahead with educational reforms, adding that medical education should remain with the Health Ministry.

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