Indian students rushing abroad to study medicine, reveals RTI

Bengaluru: There has been an increase in the number of students willing to study medicine abroad, reveals the reply to an RTI query. The RTI query was sent to the Medical Council of India (MCI) in October 2018 and the reply reveals that the number of students who applied for the mandatory eligibility certificate from MCI to study abroad almost doubled in 2017-18 as compared to 2016-17.

As per RTI no. MCI- 201 (E-RTI)/ 2018- Eligi./, the number of applications received was18,383 in 2017-18 as against 10,555 in 2016-17.

Dr Sylvia Karpagam, a public health doctor and researcher, said, “The mass migration of doctors has been happening for a long time and it is not surprising. The entire medical education system, right from the selection process, the fees and the curriculum are set up as a commercialised structure, rather than a social commitment. The curriculum doesn’t focus on the disease that is prevalent in the country. Medical students are also trained in tertiary care rather than primary healthcare. They are therefore ill-prepared to work in a primary care setting and definitely not in a rural care setting.”

As per the information provided in the RTI communication, MCI issued 8,737 eligibility certificates in 2016-2017 and 14,118 certificates in 2017-18. The eligibility certificates issued also include pending from previous years, the RTI reply suggested.

Dr Karpagam said that there is a need to change the social structure of medical students who get admission to medical colleges. Investments should be made into government medical colleges to focus on training students on health issues concerning the country, with the particular focus on social determinants of health.

The key reason for student migration is the lack of medical seats in the country, said Mr Saju Bhaskar, president and founder of an overseas MCI-recognized medical university, Texila American University. “Information provided in the RTI speaks volumes on the shift in medical education trends. There are a mere 60,000 medical seats being offered by both government and private colleges for medical aspirants, who are in millions.

Apart from this, higher awareness levels of the overseas colleges, affordable fees compared to Indian private colleges, curriculum aligned to international standards, better global growth opportunities etc. are the other reasons why students prefer to study MBBS abroad,” he said.