Medical graduates, who were pursuing medical courses in other countries, and completed their fourth and fifth years online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are facing difficulties due to the rule issued by the National Medical Commission, last year. The medical education regulator now wants them to complete a two years internship after their course completion.
Medical students, who went abroad to China for their MBBS, are facing many difficulties in their education caused by the pandemic and the strict rules for them in India. The students gave an account of the difficulties they faced because of their foreign degree.
Longer Internship Program
Normally, the internship period used to be one year for foreign medical graduates, as well. This kept them at par with the Indian students, but since the rule of the NMC last year, it has changed.
According to these students, this extra year will lead them to become juniors to those who had started their MBBS after them. Also, the students don’t get stipends during the internship, which adds to their financial burden.
NMC has said that rule is necessary since such students missed out on clinical practice in their final years. The students, however, call it a waste of time.
The path before the internship is not easy. Before getting an internship to practice, foreign medical students have to clear the Foreign Medical Graduation Examination. The difficulty level of any exam in India needs time to prepare.
The students have to clear the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE). This is a screening test, conducted by the National Board of Examination, for interim medical registration.
Preparing for this exam also takes 1-2 years, sometimes even longer. This further pushes the students back in their careers.
What Do The Students Have To Say?
Naveen Kumar, who studied in China and is part of the 2015 batch of FMG, took a year to get through the FMGE. He is currently doing a 2-year internship.
He said, “Those who finish their MBBS from countries like China have to spend a year for the screening exam, and now we have to spend two more years in the internship. Whatever one needs to learn can be learnt in one year as well.”
Kirti Rawat, 2015 batch of FMG, said that because of studying in China, she ended up losing more years of her life than she anticipated. She took two years to clear FMGE and then two years of internship. This will eventually take 10 years to complete her degree, which could’ve been completed in 6 years.
For students in the 2015 batch, the rule clearly mandates them to enroll in a 2-year internship. The students in the 2016 batch, however, doubt whether the rule applies to them.
Shalini Singh, a doctor from the 2016 batch interning at a hospital in Lucknow, talked to The Print. The Print wrote, “she has a study loan to pay, and the lack of a stipend has made it hard for her to sustain herself. She is currently dependent on her family for funds.”
Approaching The Supreme Court
Some students approached the Supreme Court against the rule, and are awaiting a response. Last December, the Supreme Court asked the Centre and NMC to come up with a solution to the issue, but the students still do not have the clarity and are continuing with their internship.
During the pandemic, even Indian students were learning online. Foreign medical graduates question the way they are being dealt with, such harsh provisions, where their 5-year degree is taking 10 years to complete.
In any hardship, the country or the world faces, the students are the most affected lot. The policies, rules, regulations, and laws make it harder for them to sustain their education. This gives the State a lesson to keep the students as their priority, for once.
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