Why medical education in India needs urgent reform

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Despite being home to one of the oldest medicinal systems in the world, India still struggles to bring its medical education on par with leaders around the world. The country’s 541 medical schools have not been able to achieve the level of education that could meet the country’s health needs.

The doctor-to-patient ratio of 1: 1655 in India compared to the WHO standard of 1: 1000 clearly shows the deficit of MBBS. As the government strives to find a solution and target to achieve the required ratio, there is a need to revisit the overall medical education.

The backwardness in formal medical education was evident after the pandemic, where the nation saw the medical fraternity struggle to fill the physician shortage.

He also highlighted the outdated learning methods that most medical institutes were using. Due to containment and fear of the spread of Covid-19, many institutes have canceled lectures and practical sessions.

Current challenges faced by medical education in India

Indian medical education was already waiting for a long overdue upgrade and the pandemic has become an additional challenge.

Here are the main issues that make up the stress test for medical education in India:

1. Lack of skills: Although the institutes manage to hire professors and lecturers, there is a lack of technical skills. It is difficult to find faculties in clinical and non-clinical disciplines, and there are very few faculty development programs to upgrade the existing lot.

2. Lack of infrastructure: The biggest challenge facing the industry today is the gap in digital learning infrastructure. There is an urgent need to embrace technology and have resources to facilitate e-learning.

3. Lack of research and innovation: Medical research and innovation need a boost because there hasn’t been a lot of groundbreaking research here. The education system needs to focus more on improving the quality of research. In addition, since partnership between industry and universities is not available, innovation also takes a back seat.

Towards a reform of medical education

To meet any unprecedented demands in the future and to improve the quality of education, India’s medical education system is undoubtedly in need of major reforms.

While the focus should be on improving the curriculum to deliver competency-based training, there are several ways to help reform the current medical education system. Some of them are;

  • Leverage technology to deliver digital learning solutions
  • Capitalize on e-learning and facilitate the infrastructures to support it
  • Revise the curriculum to have more practical training, competency-based skills development
  • Instill a problem-solving approach through situational / case-based review
  • Extensive faculty development program to sharpen teacher skills
  • Eliminate caste-based booking and pave the way for merit-based admission
  • Collaboration between industry and universities to facilitate innovation

India already leads the global pharmaceutical industry, restarting medical education will allow it to enter the league of healthcare leaders as a whole.

– Article by Dr Nachiket Bhatia, CEO, Dr. Bhatia Medical Coaching Institute

Read: Medical education in India needs a complete overhaul

Read: Problems plaguing medical education: Why India suffers from a severe shortage of quality doctors


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