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Posted at: Nov 29, 2018, 2:14 AM; last updated: Nov 29, 2018, 12:34 PM (IST)

Cut medical education cost, MCI board told

Health Ministry concerned as some varsities charging a whopping Rs 20 lakh a year for MBBS

Expensive affair

  • Rs 1.25 crorea student ends up paying as fee at a deemed varsity for a 5.5-year MBBS course(Rs 20 lakh a year)
  • Rs 50,000a year minimum fee in state government medical colleges; Rs 8,000 in AIIMS
  • 70,000 MBBS seats in all colleges
  • 31,278 seats in govt medical colleges
  • 479 medical collegesin the country
  • 227 are government-run and rest are private
Cut medical education cost, MCI board told

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 28

The government has asked India’s apex medical education regulator, the Medical Council of India Board of Governors, to find ways of reducing the humungous cost of medical education in the country.

The Health Ministry has flagged the high cost of MBBS fees being charged in private sector, especially by deemed universities, calling for urgent engagement with stakeholders to check this trend and cut down on costs.

Top sources in the Health Ministry confirmed to The Tribune that the cost of medical education was a major unresolved issue before the erstwhile MCI, which the government had to dissolve on September 26 owing to its lack of cooperation on medical education reforms.

“The erstwhile MCI refused to look at fees being charged by colleges and universities for MBBS and PG courses. They said it was not part of their mandate under Indian Medical Council Act, 1956,” a Health Ministry official said.

The IMC Act 1956 is silent on fees to be charged by medical colleges although the government maintained that the cost of medical education should naturally constitute the mandate of the MCI, which is the apex medical education regulator and a torch bearer of medical ethics.

The Ministry has evidence of a range of deemed universities offering MBBS courses for a whopping Rs 20 lakh a year.  “What would such a student think of when he or she gets out of the system and starts practising? The high cost of medical education in Indian private sector is leading to malpractices. A student who has paid through the nose to study medicine is vulnerable to compromising medical ethics to recover huge costs. Students naturally avail of education loans to pay that kind of fees,” a Ministry source aware of the developments said.

There is also a sense that the mechanism of fee regulation in other state colleges by a committee chaired by HC judge is not working well and there are huge variations in the cost of medical education.

One way to reduce costs is by increasing the size of Indian medical classrooms. Under MCI regulations for MBBS, a classroom cannot have more than 250 students. “This can change. One classroom can have many more students. One professor can reach the entire class with gadgets and life size tutorial screens,” an official said.

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