The National MSc Medical Teachers Association (NMMTA), the body representing non-medical teachers, has again approached the Health Ministry seeking a rollback of the decision. A year after nearly 6,000 non-medical teachers in medical colleges fearing a job crisis with the National Medical Commission reducing the posts for their recruitment.
A letter submitted to Ministry said “We have sought for the Ministry to revoke the order. The step will address faculty crisis in the institutions and help the teachers. Last year, in the regulations released by the medical education regulator, the permissible intake of non-medical faculty had come down from 30% to 15% in anatomy and physiology, from 50% to 15% in biochemistry, and from 30% to 0% in microbiology and pharmacology”.
Teachers of clinical subjects in medical colleges are doctors with MBBS and MS/MD degrees, while others in the non-clinical subjects with medical M.Sc. or Ph.D.s who are not doctors but have undergone similar training and their designations range from tutor to professor and even head of departments.
The practice of appointing non-doctors as teachers in the non-clinical subjects dates back to the 1960s, when there was an acute shortage of teachers with MBBS/MD qualifications. This is also the practice followed in most medical colleges across the world. In US medical schools, 26% of all teachers are non-doctors. In some medical colleges of the West 80-90% of teachers are scientists with Ph.D qualifications. A section of non-clinical doctors have been clamoring for the elimination of non-doctors from medical education.
The teachers’ eligibility and qualifications guidelines of the previous regulator, the Medical Council of India, allowed a higher intake of non-medical teachers to teach pre and para-clinical subjects, said the Association members. Opposing this decision to reduce seats, the NMMTA had requested the Health Ministry to get the decision changed to address the faculty crisis and help the teachers. The appeal is pending with the Ministry and the association has called for a speedy redressal as the employment of several of its members is at stake.
‘‘ While there has been an increase in MD seats in the non-clinical subjects, 40-50% of them remain vacant each year, which would only mean that the faculty shortage is likely to continue’’ said Dr. Sridhar Rao, president of the NMMTA. The shortages are more pronounced in the colleges located in rural, remote, or hilly areas where the availability of medical teachers is generally poor. The introduction of the new MBBS curriculum isn’t a concern as all teachers are being trained to implement it. Rejecting a prior proposal to do away with the provision of appointing M.Sc./Ph.D. teachers, the Board of Governors in supersession of the MCI in January 2020 had cited the shortage of faculty in the institutions, he added.
“Hundreds of such teachers are currently working on tenure or contract basis. Medical colleges are refusing to continue or renew their services citing the new guidelines. All of them would be rendered jobless. NMC’s statement that existing faculties wouldn’t be affected is untrue. Tutors, who have already put in four years are being denied promotions. A couple of teachers have already been sacked”, said Arjun Maitra, General Secretary of NMMTA.
Source: The Hindu, News Experts