Dr Dinesh Kumar, head of medical education at Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC Delhi) spoke on NExT exam, NEET coaching, new medical colleges, and the MBBS course.
Pritha Roy Choudhury | July 6, 2023 | 05:14 PM IST
NEW DELHI: The number of medical colleges has grown by 70% in the last 10 years. Both this expansion as well as the new curriculum require more teachers, said Dr Dinesh Kumar, head of medical education, Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi. He spoke to Careers360 about the need for quality teachers, the National Exit Test (NExT), the inclusion of AYUSH subjects in MBBS curriculum and the district residency programme. Edited excerpts below.
Q. A large number of new government medical colleges have come up in the last two years. Are there enough teachers?
A. In most of these colleges, there will be a deficiency of faculty due to the pace of their establishment. Also, their locations may not attract many teachers. The new set-up in medical school is very rigorous and intense due to time constraints as well as the very heavy curriculum. That will require many more teachers than we have right now. As the new curriculum is competency-based, senior teachers must train the juniors but the numbers are also equally important.
Q. This NExT exam will replace the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) PG. Do you think this will reduce dependence on coaching for admission to PG programmes?
A. I hope that happens because then the students will be able to focus on their practical learning rather than being distracted by studying other topics. I don’t know how it is going to unfold – we will know when it happens – but the idea behind putting NExT Step 1 before the internship and NExT Step 2 after the internship is that students can concentrate on their practical training, which was not happening for past many years. The coaching industry may come up with something new to cater to new situations.
The final professional exam is after 17 months as per the new guidelines notified in December 2022. When it happens, students will have a lot more time but there will be a lot of subjects to study. During the last year of the internship, they get actual hands-on experience of being a doctor working in different departments. That was being missed out as students were concentrating more on coaching because, in the end, they will have to appear for the NEET PG examination. Now that they have already appeared in NExT 1, that part is off their minds so they will concentrate more on the clinical skills because that is what they will be judged on at the end of the internship.
Q. How far has the district residency programme been successful?
A. I think this is a very good programme because, with the district hospitals being converted to medical colleges, residents working at these district hospitals will also be rotating and will be exposed to tertiary care facilities and vice versa for residents working in tertiary care hospitals. So in a way, during the residency period, they will be exposed to a wider spectrum of patients under the supervision of senior faculties.
Q. Could you tell us about research at MAMC? AIIMS Delhi has collaborated with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi for research as well. Any such plans for MAMC?
A. All departments are into research and many are in collaboration with various engineering colleges, with international universities. We have a robust system in place of research in every department, apart from teaching, training and patient care. The amount of clinical material available makes all the departments of MAMC, clinical as well as non-clinical, a fertile place to collaborate for research. A lot of departments are working with IIT Delhi and IIIT Delhi.
Q. The new curriculum has been controversial. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has opposed the inclusion of AYUSH in it, for example. What is your take on that?
A. My personal opinion is that we should also give due attention and importance to Indian medicine. In the Indian context, we can’t be ignorant of the AYUSH as all patients are consuming modern medicines along with some Ayurvedic or Unani medicines. In our society, all have exposure to Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines and doctors are not absolutely into modern medicine. So if our students are aware, there is no harm. It is better if they are aware of what is happening in other traditional methods of treatment.
Q. Has Covid left any permanent change in the medical college?
A. COVID affected Medical colleges just as the rest of society. Every system got affected and ours was too. However, medical education being skill-based, involves hands-on training, and the impact was felt more. Now we should look at those areas which could not be attended to earlier so that we can make up for that with appropriate and timely reinforcements.
The new set-up in medical school is very rigorous and intense due to time constraints as well as the very heavy curriculum
The idea behind putting NExt 1 before the internship and NExt 2 after the internship is that students can concentrate on their practical training, which was not happening for past many years.
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