Medicine abroad offers global exposure

Going international: Several factors are driving Indian students to medical colleges in China and former USSR. A medical seat gives a social status that many professional courses hardly give despite being lucrative. At least, that's the perception of middle class parents, who proudly declare that their wards are studying medicine. But the demand-supply ratio is quite poor in the State.

But options are quite good in foreign countries for those missing out. USSR was the most preferred destination in the 80s and 90s while China emerged as an alternative option during the last five years for reasons like easy availability of seats, affordable fee and good academic facilities.

However, there are other interesting factors that are driving Indian students to medical colleges in China and former USSR countries.

MBBS In India
Medical Council of India has made "Skill Test" mandatory for every MBBS student in India.
The student after doing house surgeon has to compulsorily clear "Skill Test" to obtain Registration or permanent license to practice in India. "This is as good as the screening test to be passed by students from foreign medical colleges," says V.R. Ram, Chief Executive, Medico Abroad. With the government keen on introducing compulsory one-year Rural Service after the completion of House Surgeon the total duration of MBBS course may go up to 6.5 to 7 years (4.5 study+ 1 year House Surgeon + 1 year Rural Service).

"However, MCI has given a specific advantage to medical colleges of China.
They officially approved the last year Internship to be done by Indian student in India itself. Thus Indian student will be effectively studying for only 5 years in China," Mr. Ram says.
In 2010, the fees payable under B category seats in Andhra Pradesh was Rs.2.75 lakh which is proposed to be hiked by private colleges this year. Put together with hostel and food expenses, the total yearly expenses will be nearly Rs.3.50 lakh to Rs. 4 lakh which becomes burdensome for middle income group parents.

The Management quota seats under 'C ' Category are selling at a package cost of Rs. 35 lakh and above which is higher compared to last year.
"However, the fee in China and former USSR countries is much less. So a combination of these factors is appealing to parents and Indian students," Mr. Ram says.

"The first batch of medical graduate students from foreign universities goes back to 2009. Most of these students cleared their MCI Screening Test in their very first attempt and are presently in various Government and Corporate Hospitals.

This has increased confidence among parents about the quality and safety," says Mr. Jaipaul Reddy of St. Joseph's Consultants. The already developed infrastructure, buildings, labs, equipment and hospitals, and the liberal government funding makes it possible for medical institutions of China and former USSR countries to offer low fee without compromising quality. Indian food is made available to students by the consultants who send them.

Trained faculty from advanced countries like US, UK are employed for teaching of foreign students besides utilisation of Audio visual aids, computer simulation labs, modern equipments which enhance the teaching standards.

The exquisite labs, modern equipment, top grade hospitals, digital libraries enhancing the studies, comfortable hostels, Internet centres, provision stores within the campus are an added advantage.
Interactions with foreign students, understanding different cultures, the international travel and the exposure brings tremendous maturity besides competitiveness, and personality development in a student.

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