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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4

Regulatory reform in medical education

National Research Professor, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication4-Jun-2014

Correspondence Address:
M. S. Valiathan
National Research Professor, Manipal University, Manipal - 576 104, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2321-4848.133766

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How to cite this article:
Valiathan MS. Regulatory reform in medical education. Arch Med Health Sci 2014;2:4

How to cite this URL:
Valiathan MS. Regulatory reform in medical education. Arch Med Health Sci [serial online] 2014 [cited 2022 Dec 6];2:4. Available from: https://www.amhsjournal.org/text.asp?2014/2/1/4/133766

Hardly a month goes by without the Medical Council of India appearing in the media for the wrong reasons. It had been ailing for many years while its parent - the General Medical Council of United Kingdom (UK) - remained agile and young by resorting to rejuvenative measures at regular intervals! The condition became so grave that the Government of India performed a coup by abolishing the MCI, replacing it with a board of governors pending the enactment of new legislation and creating "National Council for Human Resources in Health" (NCHRH). The board of governors continued its tentative existence longer than expected when the Government laboured to bring forward the promised legislation. This prolonged labour for over two years produced not exactly a trivial legislation but something far short of a revolutionary bill. Unfortunately, even this feeble draft bill was rejected by a formidable Committee of Parliament, and we find ourselves exactly where we were when the reform movement started. "The more we try, the more it remains the same" has never been truer than in India's regulatory regime for medical education.

During all these tortuous and futile efforts, medical educationists and government authorities took little note of many core issues in medical education, which other countries are constantly and successfully tackling. In teaching pre- and paraclinical sciences for medical students, for example, how much modern biology should be introduced and what should be the ratio of hours devoted to modern biology vis-ΰ-vis conventional anatomy, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, etc., in the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) course? How much time should be devoted to the acquisition of knowledge vis-ΰ-vis the acquisition of essential skills? How does one ensure that the physician in training imbibes cultural and humanitarian values and does not end up as a glorified technician? Is it desirable for a centralised authority to prescribe a uniform curriculum for physician's training all across India, which has a highly heterogeneous population, and the physicians in locations as far apart as Rajasthan, Assam, Jharkhand, and Karnataka would encounter diverse realities in demography, epidemiology, and clinical medicine? It should be noted that even in a "homogenous" country like UK, the GMC confines its prescription for a physician's training to 2/3 rd and leaves the rest to the Universities and Medical Schools for innovations to suit their locality. Isn't there a better way to "recognize" medical colleges and assess their performance free from inspector raj and corruption as other countries have successfully done by establishing efficient, corruption - free accreditation practices through independent professional agencies? The questions go on but they sound like a cry in the wilderness in India.

The charade of reform in the regulation of medical education in India is reminiscent of Tagore's story of a bird in a golden cage. Beautiful, loved and admired, the bird attracted a crowd which assembled to greet it. The visitors were drawn to the design of the golden cage, its size, its architecture, its grandeur, and its price tag and tempted to offer suggestions on its further aggrandizement. Meanwhile, the poor bird went without food and water and perished. While we busy ourselves with futile efforts to reform the regulatory cage, the soul of medical education represented by knowledge, skills and compassion is suffering from slow and progressive attrition.


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