Dr Sridhar Rao, President, National M.Sc Medical Teachers’ Association (NMMTA)
The system of medical education varies across the countries. We need to watch others without trying to emulate them. There have to be more discussions among the stakeholders on how to evolve medicine with changing times. Too many regulations are not healthy as most institutions try only to meet the regulations. We need to have systems where institutions evolve through their own efforts.
Medical colleges must compete with each other and universities must have the freedom to experiment and innovate. In the absence of regulation or regulatory body, the quality would certainly fall but too much government regulation will also be detrimental. All medical colleges except those instituted by the parliamentary act come under the ambit of National Medical Commission (NMC) and have to follow the system prescribed by it.
What if there is a revolutionary concept of conducting medical education? Say someone wants to create a new system of medical education wherein after two years of basic sciences the students can pursue the next three years in the chosen clinical discipline so that at the end of five years, we have specialists ready.
There must be provisions in the law for innovation in conducting medical education. There is always a resistance to change; people who accustomed to the existing system or have benefited from it tend to oppose changes. We must be open to new ideas and experiment with them; be it allowing foreign teachers or appointing scientist teachers in non-clinical or clinical disciplines. Suggestions must be considered on merit without bias or prejudices. In many countries the licence to practice needs to be periodically renewed; the same has been resisted in India.
Over time new diseases may appear, the manner in which diseases are diagnosed and treated will keep on evolving. Indian medical education should keep pace with all the developments and be a significant contributor on the global stage. The policies and the policymakers have to be dynamic and keep evolving according to the changing needs.