NMC caps MBBS batch size to 150 for new medical colleges

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The National Medical Commission (NMC) is focusing on improving the quality of medical education by increasing the number of medical colleges and reducing the batch size for a better teacher-student ratio. In the new medical colleges, the seats can be from 50 to 150 in an MBBS batch. The revised regulation under the Under Graduate Minimum Standards Regulations (UG-MSR) issued on August 16, 2023, will not be implemented in the old medical colleges that have a batch size of more than 150 to 250 students.
Talking to Education Times, Dr Aruna V Vanikar, president, Undergraduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB), NMC, says, “We have received various inputs from students, faculties and other medical fraternities across the country requesting to cut down the strength of MBBS batches at the medical colleges.The Ministry of Health approved the proposal considering the increasing burden on hospitals and medical faculty. After a wide consultation, NMC has decided to cut down the strength of MBBS batches to only 150 per college.”
Earlier, the MBBS batches would have as many as 250 students and the classes were crowded. The students were largely impacted during the practical sessions in the laboratories. This has been revised to a maximum of 150 seats in the newly set up medical colleges. Dr Vanikar says, “Colleges can start with only 50 seats if they have a functional hospital along with faculties in all the clinical departments. Hospitals must at least have a capacity of 200 beds and 20 ICU beds. The hospitals require a basic setup to conduct classes in the MBBS phase I and phase II. With this, we have made the process of establishing medical colleges simpler for the working hospitals.”
The UG-MSR 2023 focuses on establishing medical colleges with the availability of basic amenities for the students, where they can study and practice during the degree course. We have removed the clause of land requirement from the UG-MSR 2023, which will now be monitored by the municipality or the regulations of the construction of the area or state, adds Dr Vanikar.
UG-MSR 2023 mentioned that medical colleges shall follow the ratio of 100 MBBS seats for 10 lakh population in the states/ UTs. By limiting the MBBS seat count at the medical colleges to just 150 and only allowing 100 seats for one million population (10 lakh), NMC will target the problem of overcrowding of hospitals in the same area. The existing establishment of multiple colleges in the same location ultimately harms the exposure, skills, and clinical knowledge of students, obviously due to less or zero footfall. While visiting the colleges and students, we have come across many students who hold MBBS degrees without any clinical exposure. A lot of clinical training is not happening due to the non-availability of medical/ clinical equipment, adds Dr Vanikar.
Problem of plenty
Earlier in 2020, the Family Adoption Programme (FAP) was made mandatory for the MBBS training curriculum, as it is intended to improve the clinical exposure for the students. Under this programme, each student is assigned at least five families to monitor their health, provide advice on health issues, and accompany them to hospitals for treatment. “Some students from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have reported to NMC that they have not received any FAP due to which, their training is hampered. Similarly, in less populated places such as Puducherry, which has seven medical colleges, the students have to fight over the adoption of villages for medical training,” she says.
The NMC wants every district to have one medical college. “After the government announced this plan, several states divided a single district into multiple districts only to establish medical colleges, without bothering about its maintenance and educational standards. The formula of 100 seats for one million population has been drafted to counter such problems,” says Dr Vanikar.
Equal distribution of medical facilities
Highlighting the need for equitable distribution of medical colleges. India has more capacity to establish more medical colleges. For the population of 140 crore, there are only 1lakh seats, 40,000 seats can still be established but NMC is focusing on creating equitable distribution of medical colleges across the country. The UG-MSR 2023 guideline issued by the Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB) under the Establishment of Medical College Regulation, has introduced the policy of annual renewal requirement for the medical colleges. Dr Vanikar says, “According to the UG-MSR 2020, any society/ organisation/ party was permitted to start the college and at the end of five years colleges were available to provide recognition by the NMC. The colleges followed a format of annual increase of beds, faculties, and other requirements, which is not in line with the international standards and the Competency Based Medical Education (CBME). The UG-MSR 2023, has replaced the five-year performance-based recognition with an annual renewable system, focusing on equating the quality of education across all medical colleges.”



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