UP Election 2022: Uttar Pradesh’s dozens of new medical colleges face teacher shortage

UP Assembly Election 2022: Yogi Adityanath’s tenure saw MBBS seats, medical colleges rise but teachers are in short supply.

UP Election 2022: Uttar Pradesh’s dozens of new medical colleges face teacher shortage New medical colleges in UP are facing shortage of teachers (Image: Government Medical College and Super Facility Hospital, Chakrapanpur)
Pritha Roy Choudhury | Feb 10, 2022 - 12:06 p.m. IST
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New Delhi: The one area of higher education that saw serious expansion during Yogi Adityanath’s tenure as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was medical education but mainly on the strength of a central scheme.

Of the state’s 68 medical colleges, 13 are under construction. Nine of these were inaugurated by prime minister Narendra Modi in October 2021, ahead of the UP election 2022. Another 16 in underserved areas are in the pipeline. Earlier in February, the UP government announced that the state has added 900 undergraduate MBBS seats and the PG seats had risen 20% during BJP’s tenure.

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The new medical colleges are in various stages of completion. Some have already been approved by the National Medical Commission and will start operating from 2023. Others are waiting to recruit teachers before approaching NMC for approval to join the NEET counselling process. Counselling is the process by which seats are assigned to medical aspirants who qualify the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), the single entrance exam for admission to undergraduate medicine in India.

However, teachers and officials across districts said that nearly all medical colleges will face teacher shortages.

The Uttar Pradesh assembly elections will be held in seven phases, from February 10 to March 7.

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Uttar Pradesh medical college boom

Of the 68 medical colleges currently operational in UP, 30 are private, two are All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) which are centrally-run and funded; two are central universities – Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), and the rest are state institutions. The AIIMS are at Raebareli and Gorakhpur.

The 13 under construction are likely to become operational by 2023. “We plan to make them operational next year and we will start with 100 students for the undergraduate programme in each college”, said Dr NC Prajapati, additional director, Directorate of Medical Education, Uttar Pradesh.“We will also start the recruitment process for these medical colleges soon.” Work has begun on another 16.

The 16 new hospitals will be set up as public-private partnerships (PPP). Expressions of interest have already been invited for identified districts – Baghpat, Ballia, Bhadohi, Chitrakoot, Hamirpur, Hathras, Kasganj, Maharajganj, Mahoba, Mainpuri, Mau, Rampur, Sambhal, Sant Kabirnagar, Shamli and Shravasti.

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At least one section of UP’s medical education community feels that part of the expansion is unnecessary. “The concept of equitable distribution of healthcare even in the geographical sense is completely overlooked and damaged because you have two medical colleges in the same district,” complained a professor. “This is a blatant misuse of resources. If even 25 percent of what has been invested in AIIMS Gorakhpur could have been invested in BRD Gorakhpur [it would have helped]. Augmenting a medical college is cheaper and it will build upon the already-established legacy and trust in the community. A new medical college takes time to get a foothold.”

Dr. Anand Mishra, professor, anatomy, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) disagreed. “UP needs medical colleges because the doctor-population ratio is low. The NMC plans to make it 1:1000 and for that, you need medical colleges,” he said. “They are opening medical colleges associated with district hospitals. That requires less capital and the district hospital is also upgraded.”

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Teacher shortage

However, the new colleges are stretching teaching resources. Teachers complained that the number of teachers falls far behind what is required to cater to the old and new medical colleges in the state. In UP, the number of doctors graduating next year will be 6,400. Only graduates who qualify NEET PG for postgraduate admission – or the National Exit Test (NExT), which is meant to replace NEET – and gain admission will be able to teach first-year MBBS students. There are only about 3,000 PG seats.

“If the doctors want to [work in remote areas], they are forced to refuse as many of them are married and have school-going children. They look for good schools in the vicinity. Though we try making arrangements for transport for the school-going children. But this will take time,” said Dr Prajapati.

“To run such medical colleges, you need expert faculty members. That is not developed in UP,” said Mishra. “Faculty generation and having the minimum requirement of faculty members – that is a problem. They are regularly posting advertisements for faculty members to apply and taking interviews. But how many people are joining those colleges – I don't have a very good idea.”

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Vacant reserved posts

The Uttar Pradesh government has advertised vacancies but failed to fill all posts, either due to shortage of candidates from the reserved categories or reluctance of doctors from the clinical branch to join. If they remain vacant, the posts for reserved candidates are filled with contractual employees.

“The contractual posts are filled by walk-in interviews,” explained Prajapati. “Because these are not permanent posts, the government reservation policy does not come into play. For example, if there is a post that has to be filled by a reserved category candidate and we do not have a reserved category candidate in that speciality, we advertise for the post giving it a time frame of seven to 10 days. If we do not get a reserved category candidate even after that, the post is filled by the open-category candidate with the condition that if we get a reserved category candidate, then this person will be removed.”

Then, doctors from the clinical branch are hard to draw to teaching. “They do participate in the interview process but even when they are selected, they have some reluctance in joining and they don't join,” said Prajapati. “In that case too we advertise again.”

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