The Medical Council of India (MCI) has conveyed to the Delhi High Court that the medical students who are taking admissions in foreign universities can go abroad on the condition that they will clear the NEET-UG exams either in 2020 or 2021. MCI said that owing to the ‘extraordinary’ situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, they should make an exemption, adhering to other rules and regulations.
Justice V Kameswar Rao passes the decision
Lawyer T. Singhdev made the submissions on behalf of MCI to Justice V. Kameswar Rao, who further added that this exemption would only apply to those candidates taking admission to a foreign university possessing the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate) qualification, is indispensable for them. The apex medical court has warned the students that if they fail to qualify NEET-UG exams in 2020 or 2021, their admission will be canceled with no allowance for the screening test. They must also follow the COVID-19 safety protocols laid by the respective state and central government under all circumstances. This verdict came as the court was hearing a petition seeking exemption from NEET by Baskara Prasad S Isukapalli.
Availing this one-time measure
MCI has laid down certain essential criteria for students who wish to take admission to international universities’ medical departments without appearing for NEET this year. The aspirants must fulfill all the conditions of taking admission in the MBBS course as per the ‘Eligibility Requirement for Taking Admission in an Undergraduate Medical Course in a Foreign Medical Institution Regulations, 2002’. They must also comply with the guidelines mentioned in the ‘Screening Test Regulations, 2002’ and the ‘Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997’. According to a March 2019 gazette notification by MCI, the NEET exams were made mandatory for all those seeking MBBS admissions within the country or internationally.
The JEE-NEET debate
Due to the constant increase in COVID-19 cases in India, the NEET exam has already been deferred twice and is now to be conducted on 13 September. But the students going to the foreign universities need to reserve their seats for the academic session 2020-21 as soon as possible. Hence, addressing all the grievances at once, MCI and Delhi High Court have allowed a one-time exemption.
Revision of MBBS syllabus
The MCI has also decided to introduce a new undergraduate curriculum for the MBBS students to enhance their competency in facing new challenges like the one posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with the social and legal aspects, pandemic management will be a mandatory module for the students, extending from a foundation course to the undergraduate program’s final year. Dr. V. K. Paul, the chairman of the board of governors, has mentioned this module in his forward note to the new MBBS curriculum.
The Policy Times Suggestions
- The medical fraternity has welcomed both the decisions, but the students going abroad should try to attempt for NEET 2020 to be on the safe side.
- The new and advanced MBBS syllabus will indeed prove instrumental in preparing doctors for a situation like COVID-19 in the future.