The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has extended the last date to submit suggestions and comments on the Draft National Education Policy. Draft National Education Policy (DNEP) focuses on key areas of education with an aim to improve and transform. In the field of health education the provisions in the draft policy, among other things, seem to address the shortage of doctors around the country. Another key area that the policy addresses is entrance examinations for admission to postgraduate courses in health sciences.
Increase In Seats, Teaching Hospitals
The policy outlines the lack of doctors in the country and has made the suggestion to upgrade about 600 district hospitals to teaching hospitals. This, the policy states, should be done at the earliest by 'investing in infrastructure for targeted medical specialities'. The policy also recommends stationing adequately qualified teaching faculties at these hospitals.
The policy also addresses the shortfall in the number of seats in postgraduate courses. The number of seats in postgraduate courses in medical education is about half of the number of seats in MBBS courses. The number of seats in postgraduate courses will be increased in accordance with the available infrastructure in hospitals.
Certificate Programme To Upskill EMTs, Lab Technicians
The Draft National Education Policy has proposed introduction of a certificate skills-based training programme (minimum 1 to 2 years with significant on-the-job training) for General Duty Assistants (GDA), Emergency Medical Technicians-Basic (EMT-B) and Laboratory Technicians. These upskilled persons would then be employed in Primary Health Centres (PHC) and other government set ups to improve the healthcare delivery system.
Exit Exam For MBBS
The DNEP proposes an exit examination for MBBS (also suggested in the National Medical Commission Bill). The exit examination will serve the dual purpose of an entrance examination for admission into postgraduate programmes. The exit examination will be administered at the end of the fourth year of MBBS programme to spare students the stress of studying for a separate, competitive entrance exam at the end of their residency period.
DNEP also proposes that the first year or two of the MBBS programme should be common for all science graduates after which they can take up MBBS/ BDS/ Nursing and other specialisations.
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