‘a step to­wards one In­dia, one exam’

MED­I­CAL AD­MIS­SIONS With­out this, the pur­pose of hav­ing a com­mon en­trance test is de­feated, say ex­perts

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Gauri Kohli Gauri Kohli

Af­ter im­ple­ment­ing the Na­tional El­i­gi­bil­ity cum En­trance Test (NEET) for ad­mis­sion to med­i­cal cour­ses at the un­der­grad­u­ate, post­grad­u­ate and su­per spe­cialty lev­els, the min­istry of health and fam­ily wel­fare (MoHFW) an­nounced last week that com­mon coun­selling will be con­ducted at the state level for ad­mis­sion to med­i­cal cour­ses at the un­der­grad­u­ate and post­grad­u­ate lev­els.

Amend­ments made in the rel­e­vant reg­u­la­tions of Med­i­cal Coun­cil of In­dia re­quire the des­ig­nated au­thor­ity at the state/ union ter­ri­tory level to do coun­selling for all med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions in the state, in­clud­ing those es­tab­lished by the Cen­tral gov­ern­ment, state gov­ern­ment, univer­sity, deemed univer­sity, trust, so­ci­ety, com­pany, mi­nor­ity in­sti­tu­tions or cor­po­ra­tions.

The coun­selling for all-In­dia quota seats at un­der­grad­u­ate and post­grad­u­ate lev­els will con­tinue to be con­ducted by the Direc­torate Gen­eral of Health Ser­vices, MoHFW.

Ex­perts say that this move will help make the ad­mis­sion process more trans­par­ent and curb the al­leged prac­tice of cap­i­ta­tion fee (do­na­tions) charged by col­leges. Ac­cord­ing to Dr KK Ag­gar­wal, na­tional pres­i­dent-elect, In­dian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, the stu­dents will not have to ap­ply to mul­ti­ple agen­cies for ad­mis­sion in the same state. “More­over, it is nec­es­sary to con­duct com­mon coun­selling af­ter NEET. With­out com­mon coun­selling, the pur­pose of hav­ing a com­mon en­trance test is de­feated,” he says.

The no­ti­fi­ca­tion of state gov­ern­ments as the ap­pro­pri­ate au­thor­ity and sin­gle win­dow for al­lo­ca­tion of seats for UG (MBBS); PG (MD/MS/ diploma) and su­per spe­cial­ity (DM/MCh) is a wel­come step and log­i­cal course to im­ple­men­ta­tion of NEET as a sin­gle win­dow en­trance, says Dr Bipin Ba­tra, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Na­tional Board of Ex­am­i­na­tions.

“On De­cem­ber 5, 2016, the Cen­tral gov­ern­ment had is­sued an ad­vi­sory to this ef­fect to all states and on Jan­uary 24, 2017, all state gov­ern­ments had par­tic­i­pated in a video con­fer­ence chaired by the union health sec­re­tary to spear­head this re­form. This in­cludes merit as the sole cri­te­rion for ad­mis­sions. Stu­dents will no longer have to fill mul­ti­ple ap­pli­ca­tion forms and run around for var­i­ous in­sti­tute/s and univer­sity coun­selling ses­sions. Since the scheme is no­ti­fied un­der these reg­u­la­tions, it is manda­tory and bind­ing on all in­sti­tu­tions cov­ered un­der the scope of In­dian Med­i­cal Coun­cil Act,” he says.

It will also en­sure that each and ev­ery med­i­cal seat in the coun­try is ef­fec­tively utilised and that no col­lege is able to charge any­thing other than the pre­scribed fees. Af­ter NEET UG 2016 was con­ducted by Cen­tral Board of Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion, the min­istry in con­sul­ta­tion with states and other stake­hold­ers had is­sued an ad­vi­sory on Au­gust 9, 2016 to the states to prefer­ably con- duct com­bined coun­selling for ad­mis­sion to MBBS cour­ses for ses­sion 2016-17. The Univer­sity Grants Com­mis­sion, through a let­ter dated Septem­ber 15, 2016, had di­rected all deemed uni­ver­si­ties that they will also be part of com­mon coun­selling for ad­mis­sion in com­mon cour­ses organised ei­ther by state gov­ern­ment/Cen­tral gov­ern­ment or through its agen­cies based on the marks ob­tained in NEET.

An­other ad­vi­sory for com­mon coun­selling at the state level was is­sued in De­cem­ber 2016 for ad­mis­sion to PG cour­ses for the ses­sion 2017-18. “The ad­vi­sories were is­sued since coun­selling was not cov­ered un­der any reg­u­la­tions and the en­tire ad­mis­sion process had evolved as an ad­min­is­tra­tive mech­a­nism. But now with the amend­ment noti- fi­ca­tions in Grad­u­ate Med­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion Reg­u­la­tions, 1997 and the Post Grad­u­ate Med­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion Reg­u­la­tion, 2000, en­abling le­gal pro­vi­sions have been made for com­mon coun­selling,” says a min­istry state­ment.

Doc­tors and med­i­cal stu­dents have also wel­comed the move. “Though the is­sue of com­mon coun­selling for NEET SS needs more clar­i­fi­ca­tion, even if it is im­ple­mented at the UG/PG lev­els, cen­tralised coun­selling will cer­tainly put an end to mal­prac­tices dur­ing the ad­mis­sion process. It will give a sense of se­cu­rity to the med­i­cal as­pi­rants and cut down on un­nec­es­sary in­con­ve­nience and cost in­curred in at­tend­ing mul­ti­ple coun­selling ses­sions thereby pro­vid­ing equal op­por­tu­ni­ties to all the can­di­dates. It is an­other move to­wards strictly im­ple­ment­ing the con­cept of one In­dia, one exam,” says Dr Akash Mathur, a Jaipur-based doc­tor who is a NEET SS as­pi­rant. The Na­tional As­sess­ment and Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Coun­cil (NAAC), an as­sess­ment and ac­cred­i­ta­tion body for higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions in In­dia, has signed a mem­o­ran­dum of af­fil­i­a­tion with the Coun­cil for Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Ac­cred­i­ta­tion (CHEA) In­ter­na­tional Qual­ity Group (CIQG) of the US.

CHEA is a US-based or­gan­i­sa­tion of col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties serv­ing as the na­tional ad­vo­cate for vol­un­tary self- reg­u­la­tion through ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

CIGQ is a fo­rum for col­leges, uni­ver­si­ties, ac­cred­it­ing and qual­ity as­sur­ance or­gan­i­sa­tions world­wide to ad­dress is­sues and chal­lenges fo­cused on qual­ity and qual­ity as­sur­ance in an in­ter­na­tional set­ting.

Un­der this agree­ment, the two bod­ies will share best prac­tices in as­sess­ment and ac­cred­i­ta­tion, ex­change re­sources and ex­per­tise, case stud­ies and will also en­gage in joint ac­tiv­i­ties such as peer vis­its of ex­perts to in­sti­tu­tions from one coun­try to the other. The group com­prises ex­perts from over 40 coun­tries who will reg­u­larly share prac­tices and as­sess­ment tools, among other things.

It is de­signed to en­gage qual­ity as­sur­ance and ac­cred­it­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions, higher ed­u­ca­tion providers, or­gan­i­sa­tions and gov­ern­ments in a shared ef­fort to af­firm and pro­mote qual­ity in higher ed­u­ca­tion.

Prof DP Singh, di­rec­tor, NAAC, calls it a “step fur­ther in mak­ing In­dian as­sess­ment and ac­cred­i­ta­tion prac­tices at par with global stan­dards. The Coun­cil is also work­ing with ac­cred­i­ta­tion agen­cies from around the world to achieve this. Such ini­tia­tives will en­cour­age more In­dian in­sti­tu­tions to go for NAAC ac­cred­i­ta­tion, espe­cially as the Univer­sity Grants Com­mis­sion has made it manda­tory as it helps an in­sti­tute get au­ton­o­mous sta­tus. Con­sis­tent top grades by the Coun­cil will also help in­sti­tu­tions im­prove their per­for­mance on the HRD min­istry’s Na­tional In­sti­tu­tional Rank­ing Frame­work. This in turn will en­able stu­dents make an in­formed choice about the univer­sity or col­lege they wish to join. It will also help in­sti­tu­tions im­prove their en­rol­ment and place­ments.”

The agree­ment also states that both NAAC and CHEA will work along the lines of the core prin­ci­ples of the CHEA In­ter­na­tional Qual­ity Group, a global net­work of qual­ity as­sur­ance and ac­cred­i­ta­tion bod­ies. This in­volves work­ing with higher ed­u­ca­tion providers and their lead­er­ship, staff and stu­dents for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of pro­cesses, tools and bench­marks to im­prove qual­ity.

CHEA and CIQG pro­vide a fo­rum for col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties, ac­cred­it­ing and qual­ity as­sur­ance or­gan­i­sa­tions, higher ed­u­ca­tion as­so­ci­a­tions and gov­ern­ments to ad­dress is­sues and chal­lenges for qual­ity as­sur­ance in an in­ter­na­tional set­ting.

“As a CIQG mem­ber, NAAC has played an ac­tive role in this con­ver­sa­tion about qual­ity as­sur­ance in­ter­na­tion­ally. The mem­o­ran­dum is de­signed to en­gage qual­ity as­sur­ance and ac­cred­it­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions in a shared ef­fort to af­firm and pro­mote fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples for higher ed­u­ca­tion qual­ity,” says a CHEA spokesper­son.

IMAGESBAZAAR

The move in­cludes merit as the sole cri­te­rion for med­i­cal ad­mis­sions, say ex­perts.

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