India’s undergraduate medical education regulator has asked medical schools to consider teaching courses in vernacular languages.
The National Medical Commission’s (NMC) Undergraduate Medical Education Council made the suggestion to heads of medical schools across the country during a videoconference meeting on Feb. 7, two faculty members said. familiar with discussions.
A document purporting to outline the highlights of the February 7 meeting called by the UG board circulated via social media and containing suggestions relating to the program and other proposals has sparked debate and discourse in circles medical. Other suggestions include introducing yoga training and replacing the traditional Hippocratic oath with one developed by India’s ancient Charak.
The document lists “the transmission of medical education in bilingual languages”, describing it as among the “floating new ideas”. The medical school seemed less concerned with the new oath than with the idea of teaching in vernacular languages.
“The Hippocratic Oath has been modified over the ages to reflect the current ethical expectations of a new medical graduate. Charak’s oath could also be changed appropriately,” said George D’Souza, Dean of St John’s Medical College, Bangalore, who attended the meeting.
“But providing education in the vernacular is difficult because students can apply for admission to any college in the country and it will be difficult to teach in the vernacular for such a diverse group – unless students must be admitted only in their state”, D says Souza.
The suggestion to teach medical classes in multiple languages may be ‘well-intentioned’ but ‘impractical’ and only suggests that those making such proposals are ‘somewhat out of touch with the realities of implementation’, said another. faculty member from another medical school who requested anonymity. .
A UG board member, asked by The Telegraph to speak about the proposals, declined to comment.
But another member of the NMC, the country’s supreme authority for the teaching and practice of medicine, told the newspaper that no such proposal had so far been forwarded to the commission.
“If the UG board forwards such proposals, the NMC will discuss them to the bone before making implementation recommendations,” NMC member Shiv Kumar Utture said.
The document’s list of proposals includes “the replacement of the Hippocratic oath with the Charak oath, because Charak belonged to our homeland.”
Historical records cite Charak who lived before 100 AD among the major contributors to Ayurveda.
Medical students would be expected to take the Charak oath in local or vernacular languages.
Sections of modern physicians opposed the proposals. The Maharashtra branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the country’s largest body of doctors, said in a statement on Friday that it would oppose such a proposal. He called the idea of replacing the oath “shocking”.
Such a move “would be an attempt to belittle modern medical science,” said Mangesh Pate, secretary of IMA Maharashtra. “We respect ayurveda, but we don’t expect such moves from the NMC which is supposed to be the parent body of modern medicine.”
Many medical colleges have already introduced the Charak oath alongside the Hippocratic oath, said Vishwambhar Singh, associate professor of ear, nose and throat surgery at the Institute of Medicine, Banaras Hindu University and secretary of the National Medicos Organisation, an entity that describes itself as “an offshoot of the health wing of the RSS”, with the aim of instilling nationalism in allopathic doctors.
Singh said BHU medical school introduced the Charak oath three years ago. It has also been adopted in many colleges including AIIMS in Rishikesh and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in Patna, he said.
The suggestion to provide medical education in vernacular languages, Singh said, will take time as course materials will need to be prepared.