NEW DELHI: The central government plans to unveil a rating system for medical institutions to help students make an informed choice. The system will also serve as a warning for poorly rated institutes to improve standards.
It is also aimed at ending the `inspector raj' that flourished in the medical education sector under the Medical Council of India (MCI).
"The task of periodic rating would be assigned to the proposed National Medical Commission, which will replace the MCI," said an official. The existing inspection regime, the official added, was focused on inputs, with a greater emphasis on infrastructural issues than teaching quality and learning outcomes.
As part of the new system, medical institutions will also have to place all relevant information in the public domain via the electronic medium.
The plan is among a slew of reforms in the medical education sector suggested by a high-powered committee headed by Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya.
The panel has also suggested separate, common entrance examinations (all-India National Eligibility cum Entrance Test or NEET) for admission to undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The exams must be given "statutory" backing to ensure a transparent admission process based on merit rather than the ability to pay capitation fee, said an official. After completing an undergraduate course, medical professionals will have to appear for a common licentiate examination. The Centre may also prescribe skill tests as part of the exam, which will have statutory backing.
Passing the common licentiate examination will be mandatory for licensees to practise and for registration with the Indian Medical Register.
The committee was not in favour of creating a statutory provision for a common licentiate examination for PG and super-speciality courses. The PG medical education board, which will replace National Board of Examination (NBE), could continue to conduct a voluntary exam with institutions and candidates who are willing to take part.
The fee regulation of private colleges was one of the contentious issues dealt with by the Panagariya panel. The panel tried to address concerns about the high cost of medical education.
The committee suggested that the NMC may be empowered to fix norms for regulating fees for a proportion of seats (not exceeding 40%) in private medical colleges, while for the rest, the management may be given full freedom to charge the fee they deem appropriate.However, medical institutes have to advertise the tuition and other fees upfront on their websites with no other fee permitted. "These provisions are part of the draft National Medical Commission Bill which will replace IMC Act 1956," said an official.