April 13, 2011

MCI to grade medical colleges

For medical aspirants across India, the options during admission broadly boil down to two. Their first preference is almost any public college which offers the MBBS degree at throw-away rates, followed by the private colleges where education is a lot dearer.

But, which is the second best college among the government institutes in Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu or Karnataka? Making that choice will get a lot more hardboiled as the Medical Council of India (MCI) has decided to assess and grade their colleges. A student will now be able to make a tough call on whether to sign up at JIPMER, Puducherry, Christian Medical College, Vellore, or at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

The Council, which has so far been a college-recognising and doctor-licencing body, is now looking at expanding its mandate. "We want to see how we can improve the quality in medical education. To date, we just checked the faculty strength, infrastructure and looked at other parameters. Now, we need to see how to up the quality of the country's medical colleges," said Dr Devi Shetty, a member of the MCI board of governors.

Stemming the rot that has set in will not be easy. But improving quality of medical institutes is in sync with the larger framework that the MCI's vision document 2015 spells out: raising the bar for Indian healthcare to match the global standards.

The Vision-2015 document prescribes sweeping reforms for the under-graduate and post-graduate medical education programmes. The document aims at evolving strategies for the road ahead in an ever-expanding medical education sector that has not been able to focus on quality.

So, from the quality of the curriculum to the patient inflow, from adopting new technology in teaching-learning to the quality of research carried out, the assessment process will consider all that before a college is graded. While the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, has graded some medical colleges of the country, not all the institutes are graded.

It is unclear if the MCI will make assessment mandatory or not, but Dr Shetty added, "We are in the process of taking inputs from the NAAC and the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers on the quality processes we need to develop."

With the MCI rethinking the direction medical education should take, colleges will have to put the quality factor on steroids.

Link: Original Article

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