Faridkot, March 2
It’s been 15 years since 39-year-old Rajiv (name changed) from Malwa returned to India after having completed his MBBS degree from Kharkiv National Medical University in Ukraine. Today, he is into a truck business.
The shift from a medical background to a transporter was not by choice, but compulsion, as he failed twice to crack the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE).
The FMGE is conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE) in India and it is one of the mandatory requirements for an Indian citizen who has a medical degree from abroad to practise medicine in the country.
In 2001, when Rajiv left for Ukraine for the MBBS degree, the FMGE was not introduced then.
“The exam was introduced on March 15, 2002. I appeared twice, but failed to crack it. Left with no choice, I decided to run my family business,” he says.
Another MBBS graduate from Ukraine, 32-year-old Pradeep Kumar (name changed), works as a “hospital administrator” in the family-run hospital. He completed his MBBS degree from Ivano Frankvsh National Medical College. On returning to India, he wrote the FMGE test in 2018, but could not clear it.
Under family pressure, he pursued an MBA degree from a private institute and, subsequently, joined the hospital started by his father.
He gives medicines for all common diseases, but prefers not to write any prescription. He sometimes assists his father in all minor medical procedures.
The FMGE is held twice in a year in June and December. In 2020, 36,911 candidates appeared and only 5,419 (14.68 per cent) passed the test. Last year, only 23.83 per cent of candidates qualified.
The qualified candidates undergo one-year internship in a hospital in India. Several coaching centres in New Delhi charge Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh for two- to six-month classes to crack the FMGE. Those who fail to crack the exam take up other professions.
Like 29-year-old medical graduate from Ukraine did. He shifted to Canada four years ago and, at present, runs a car washing centre there.
“My father wanted me to become a doctor. So, he forced me to take up MBBS. Even before appearing for the FMGE, I was not confident of cracking it. My apprehension came true. So I did not appear for the second time. In 2018, I went to Canada on a study visa. After getting the permanent residency, I started my venture.”
Most of these students are wards of doctors who want their children to be doctors so that their private clinics remain functional.
Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Vice-Chancellor Dr Raj Bahadur said, “The poor standard of medical education in colleges of Ukraine, China, Nepal, Philippines and East-European countries is the reason for students facing difficulty in qualifying the FMGE. The education is mostly theoretical in nature. Students have limited or no interaction with patients — an essential component of undergraduate medical education.”
WHAT’S ON ANVIL
- The National Medical Commission (NMC) is going to introduce the National Exit Test (NEXT) in the coming days
- It will be a common examination to be conducted in the final year of undergraduate or MBBS degree
- Once cleared, this exam will allow undergraduate students to practise medicine in India; students can apply for postgraduate exams
- All medical students will be treated on a par and have the same level of exam and pass percentage, say NMC sources
FMGE must to practise in India
The Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE) is conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE) in India. It is one of the mandatory requirements for an Indian citizen who has a medical degree from abroad to practise medicine in the country.
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