The MCI proposal came after it was brought to the government's notice that medical institutions and Universities of foreign countries admit Indian students without proper assessment or screening of the students' academic ability to cope up with medical education with the result that many students fail to qualify the Screening Test.
Before this, Indian students were allowed to pursue medical education abroad and have to qualify a Screening Test called Foreign Medical Graduates Exam (FMGE), for registration to practice in India after obtaining primary medical qualification (MBBS) overseas.
"Thus, the Indian Citizens / Overseas Citizen of India intending to obtain primary medical qualification from any medical institution outside India, on or after May 2018, shall have to mandatorily qualify the NEET for admission to MBBS course abroad", said the ministry.
According to the Health Ministry, the result of NEET shall be deemed to be treated as the Eligibility Certificate for such persons, provided that such persons fulfils the eligibility criteria for admission to the MBBS course prescribed in the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997.
Currently, students who wish to study medicine in any government or private medical college in the country have to clear the NEET which came into existence from 2016.
An official recently told Press Trust of India that among those who go abroad to study medicine, around 12 to 15 per cent of the graduates manage to clear the FMGE, the licensure examination conducted by the MCI.
"If they don't clear the FMGE, they don't get registered to practice in India. In such cases, they start quackery or practice illegally which can be dangerous. So the move is aimed at ensuring only competent students get to study medicine in foreign universities," the official said.
At present, according to PTI, a student who wishes to take up a medical course has to obtain an essentiality certificate from the MCI for admission in any medical college outside India.
Every year, around 7,000 students go outside India to study medicine. Most of the students go to China and Russia.
"As per the data, the percentage of graduates who have studied abroad and have cleared the FMGE has ranged between 13 and 26.9 per cent in the last five years. This is really a matter of concern as they go out, spend lot of money of their parents and are not able to contribute to the healthcare in India once they come back," the official told PTI.
There were some complaints that the FMGE paper was very tough because of which those who come back from abroad are unable to clear it. But a committee constituted to review the FMGE syllabus found it to be perfectly suitable and relevant.
(With Inputs from PTI)
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