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Indian Students With Foreign Degrees

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  • Indian Students With Foreign Degrees

    For the over 9.93 lakh students who recently cleared the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) this year, the struggle has just begun. To begin with, the ensuing tussle to get admission in medical, dental, nursing and traditional medicine colleges in the country is going to be ruthless. The ambiguity-laced new regulation of the National Medical Commission (NMC), the apex regulatory body for medical professionals in India, with respect to foreign medical aspirants is not going to help either. Making matters worse is the silence of the NMC in the face of scores of desperate medical students seeking clarity about their futures.

    Out of all the courses, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) is the most sought-after undergraduate medical course but it can absorb only 10 per cent of the total NEET-qualified candidates. The ones who fail to get admission either wait and take the test next year again to improve their score or look for options abroad—the latter being the more popular option.

    This option, however, seems to be getting more complicated for them and also for the ones studying abroad currently with confusion shrouding NMC’s new regulations—the National Medical Commission (Foreign Medical Graduate Licentiate) Regulations, 2021.

    Against this background, a lot of agents, in collusion with foreign universities, are making the most of the current scenario by spreading misleading information to attract students abroad as they earn a huge commission on every admission, leaving the students vulnerable.

    Why Norms Need Clarification

    A section of education counsellors, students and their parents say that since the new regulation was enacted in November last year, there has been utter chaos.

    Every year, about 10,000 to 15,000 students go to countries like China, Russia, the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Nepal and Bangladesh, among others, to study undergraduate medical courses as the fee is lower in these countries as compared to private colleges in India. Despite so many candidates being eligible for admission, prohibitive costs and limited availability of seats make them venture abroad. The NMC regulation has cast a shadow of doubt over the futures of such students.

    The new regulation lists a few conditions that foreign graduates need to cover in order to appear for the National Exit Test (NExT)—a test that will be made mandatory for medical students to obtain a practicing licence in India. The NMC has said that it would start conducting it from 2023.
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