National Medical Commission (NMC) drops the requirement of 50% aggregate in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology (PCB) for MBBS admission, raising questions about the potential implications on the education system.
The National Medical Commission (NMC) recently announced the Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2023 (GMER-23), which effectively removes the earlier requirement of a minimum 50% aggregate in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology/Biotechnology (PCB) for MBBS admissions. While this change aims to increase diversity within the healthcare sector, critics fear it might encourage more students to attend dummy schools in lieu of regular ones, thus promoting a coaching culture.
A Shift in Admission Criteria
Previously, as per the Medical Council of India Regulations on Graduate Medical Education 1997, for admission to an MBBS course, a candidate must have passed in Physics, Chemistry, Biology (PCB), and English individually and must have an aggregate of 50% marks taken together in PCB. For students from SC, ST, and Other Backward Classes, the PCB aggregate should be 40%.
However, the newly introduced GMER-23, as notified by the NMC, requires the candidate to pass 10 +2 (or equivalent) in Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Biotechnology, and English. Still, it does not mention the 50% eligibility criteria. This significant omission has raised concerns among educators and healthcare professionals.
Potential Implications of the New Regulation
The Health Ministry official, on condition of anonymity, has expressed concerns about this new regulation. They opined, “The older requirement for a minimum 50% aggregate marks in PCB should have been maintained. It may have been missed out and introduced later. If a minimum 50% aggregate in PCB is ignored, students will not take classes XI and XII seriously and may use proxy attendance to prepare for NEET UG in coaching centres.”
On the one hand, this change can potentially enable more students to opt for MBBS, especially those who might have struggled to reach the 50% mark in their aggregate PCB scores. Dr Sanjay Teotia, the senior consultant at Balrampur Hospital, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, noted that this could give students who were unable to secure a spot in medical colleges earlier a better chance of gaining admission.
However, this newfound opportunity has a downside. Dr Teotia also warned about the potential negative impact, stating, “The negative aspect is that even an average student will be able to qualify for the NEET exam after three-four attempts. Those who are not good students in schools usually do not make good doctors as decent knowledge of basic sciences is a must.”
Promoting Coaching Culture over Holistic Education?
In light of the new regulation, there are growing concerns that it might encourage students to focus more on exam-oriented coaching, thereby undermining the value of holistic education. Sanjeeva Kumar Sinha, Principal of JAIN International Residential School, Bengaluru, expressed apprehension about the growing reliance on coaching classes, stating, “This will increase students’ focus to primarily acquire exam-oriented coaching rather than attending school for holistic education.”
As this new regulation is put into effect, it remains to be seen how it will impact the quality of medical education in India, the student’s attitude towards school education, and the overall healthcare sector. Given the mixed reactions from different quarters, a closer look and further deliberation on the implication of these regulatory changes seem imperative.