Redesigning Medical Education in India

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GS-2 Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Context: T]Recently there was a debate related to the need for raising the standard of medical education in the light of the fast-changing requirements of the medical field.


The key challenges that define today’s global health systems include

  • Aging populations;
  • demand for quality,
  • equity and dignity;
  • transition from communicable to non-communicable diseases and from
  • episodic illnesses to lifelong ailments;
  • double burden of disease in some countries;
  • disruptive advances in medical knowledge, IT, and biotechnology.

In this background, health professionals are required to have knowledge, skills, and professionalism to provide safe, effective, efficient, timely, and affordable care to people.

They are required to:

  • Be proficient in handling disruptive technologies,
  • understand the economics of healthcare,
  • have the skills to work in and handle large and diverse teams,
  • be ethical,
  • demonstrate empathy,
  • and be abreast of rapid developments in medicine.

Reforms suggested

  • Revision of the existing guidelines for setting up medical schools and according permission for the right number of seats. 
  • Changes in methods of education
  • Methods of education across fields are undergoing changes due to advances in
    • e-learning methods and tools, including remote learning, virtual classrooms,
    • digital dissections, and simulation systems for imparting skills.
  • Extending teaching privileges to practicing physicians and allowing e-learning tools will address the shortage of quality teachers across the system.
  • These reforms could double the existing medical seats without compromising on the quality of teaching.
  • A student can be prepared to process information that is readily available than to know past knowledge.
  • Periodic re-certification based on continuing learning systems may become essential to keep up with the fast pace of change. Virtual learning tools eliminate the need for didactic classrooms.
  • Since health professionals work in teams, inter-professional combined learning methods are being introduced. Even the concept of the teaching hospital is changing from a single, large hospital to a network of hospitals and community health centers.
  • The Medical Council of India has been mired in controversies, resulting in deterioration in the quality of education.
  • Also, its policies and strategies were delinked from the rapid changes happening in health systems within India and globally.
  • By monopolizing control over every aspect of medical education, it bred the culture of deep-rooted corruption.
  • However, if MCI splits its functions into four well-defined areas, and stipulates fixed and rotating terms to key people, it could enable the creation of a more responsive system.

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