Medical students calling for signing petitions against implementation of NEXT

On the very last day of the year 2016, Saket Dadhich, a second year MBBS student from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Jodhpur got to know about the proposed NEXT (National Exit Test) by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Having no idea about the proposition at the beginning, he ignored it. However, when he carefully read the media reports, he became aware of the possible changes that NEXT is capable of bringing. Hence, he decided to come up with a petition at change.org, asking fellow medicos to sign it and request the Union Ministry to ‘drop the idea of exit exams for medicos’.

Just like Saket, medical aspirants across the country are speculating what the effects of the imposition of the proposed exam could be. In the proposed bill, the ministry has advocated for an exit test for the candidates completing their 5 and a half year MBBS course from colleges across the country. It also suggested that NEXT can take place of NEET PG, as entry examination to PG courses. The draft bill also encouraged common counselling for admission in UG and PG level.

Satyam Singh, a first year MBBS student, is not convinced by the idea of NEXT. Already burdened by studies and exams this medico said, “We are already having a lot of exams in our course work throughout the whole year and another exam like NEXT looks meaningless to me. Besides, it will also disturb the doctor-patient ratio in our country, which is already skewed.”

Saket Dadhich, in his petition has written that even after clearing tough entrance examinations like NEET and AIIMS, the government is planning to take another examination to provide the Doctor title to the medicos. Urging to drop the idea of the NEXT, Saket said, “The examination will add burden to the medical students for no good reason. If the government is really concerned with the quality of doctors, they should focus on tightening specific college infrastructures, conduct regular inspections and not just put all of it on to students.”

Among the suggestions in the draft, there is a mention of providing 50% government PG medical seats to the medical officers who have served three years rural posting. A senior divisional medical officer from Kolkata was unaware of the proposal when asked by PaGaLGuY about it. “I am planning on taking the PG medical examination. If the proposed bill gets implemented, it would be easier for me to secure a seat in a government PG medical college,” said the medical officer.

Although, Saket doesn’t seem quite pleased by the reservation proposition. “The country has a dire shortage of specialist doctors and providing further reservations at the PG level would further widen the gap. Central institute students are already deprived of state quotas and this will further lower their chances,” said Saket.

The petition of Saket has so far garnered 180 signatures. He has started the petition hoping more students will join him and it will be automatically sent to the decision makers. The Joint Secretary of the Medical Education has kept the suggestions and feedback in respect of the draft bill open till January 6. A similar petition has been started by Bharatmedicos.com on change.org, with more than 2115 supporters as of today. Along with the demand of dropping the idea of NEXT and 50% reservation in PG seats, it has demanded not to allow Foreign graduates to practice in the country without clearing any qualifying exam.

“It is time we drop theoretical tests to judge capabilities of students in the country, at least at the graduate level. A paper can’t judge your ability to tackle a real life situation,” concluded Saket.

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