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National Medical Commission (NMC) has published an official notice that finally throws some light on the two big matters concerning medical students community – (1) NEET PG 2021 exam date, and (2) Re-opening of medical colleges.
Gist of the notice – NEET PG 2021 exam date is recommended to be in March/April 2021, by the NMC. And medical colleges should be opened by 01 December 2020.
The notice numbered NMC/Secy/2020/05 is a notice in four parts. Here is how it goes.
On Reopening of Medical Colleges
The first part is the notice cum letter addressed to the ACS / Principal secretary / Secretary in charge of Medical Education of all states and UTs, Director of Medical Education of all States and UTs, Dean / principal / Director or all medical colleges and institutes of all states and UTs.
Please find enclosed the letter of the Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India addressed to the Chief Secretaries of all States / UTs dated 25.11.2020 along with letter of National Medical Commission dated 12.11.2020 with academic calendar including schedule of examinations for all UG batches. It has come to the notice that some medical colleges / institutions have already started class room teaching and have finalized examination schedules which may continue. It is further advised that all medical colleges / institutions shall ensure strict compliance of guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and respective State / UT Government about COVID 19 preventive measures including social distancing, use of mask and sanitization measures of hostels, class room, laboratories, lecture theatres, common spaces etc.
Continued, on Re-Opening of Medical Colleges
The second part is the letter by Rajesh Bhushan.
This is regarding the re-opening of Medical Colleges in the States and UTs. In this context, I would like to bring to your notice the advice of the National Medical Commission (NMC) tendered vide their letter dated 12th November, 2020 that has suggested that in the best interest of medical education, and from the point of view of standardisation, it is desirable that the medical colleges open at the same time across the country. A copy of the said letter of NMC is enclosed.
After considering all the relevant factors, the NMC has recommended that the colleges may re-open on or before 1st December, 2020. The NMC has also given a suggestive schedule of training for different classes that is annexed with their letter. Further, the NMC has advised that sufficient number of non-COVID beds may be made available in medical college hospitals to facilitate undergraduate medical training. The Ministry has also obtained concurrence from the Ministry of Home Affairs for re-opening of Medical Colleges in the States and UTs.
Accordingly, the States/UTs may take necessary steps to open the medical colleges on or before 1st December, 2020. Needless to say, all the SOPs/guidelines with respect to social distancing and prevention of spread of epidemic issued by Central/State/UT Governments will be followed scrupulously by all the colleges.
NMC/Secy/2020/03 – Subject is Re-Opening of Medical Colleges. However text contains data on NEET PG 2021 exam date too
The third part of the notice is the actual notice by NMC, to the Secretary, MOHFW. This notice has crucial points on NEET PG 2021 exam date as well as re-opening of medical colleges. This says.
The National Medical Commission considered the representations from students and the Medical Colleges for re-opening of medical colleges for undergraduate MBBS students as the Colleges are closed for UG class room teaching, tutorials / practical classes /laboratory and clinical training due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The Commission noted the following:
- The current batch of interns (2020) have not completed their required clinical training and unless the same is completed, they would not be eligible for appearing for the PG-NEET exam.
- The PG-NEET exam for academic year 2021-22 has been delayed, as the eligible candidates ( interns ) will be completing their training late . Their training is required to be completed at the earliest , so that the PG NEET exam for the Academic year 2021-22 can be held in accordingly.
- Delay in resuming the training, would have a cascading effect on training of next PG and Super-specialty courses in the coming years.
- The academic session for the fresh MBBS students’ for the AY 2020-21 has already been delayed by 4 months and as the UG counselling has started it is imperative that the new MBBS session should also be initiated at the earliest.
- Further, it was noted that the students today (would-be doctors tomorrow ) should also be familiar with the inherent threats and opportunities in health care system which they would eventually handle themselves . It should not become a missed opportunity for medical students to learn the skills of epidemic management as a public health professional.
- Delaying re-opening of medical colleges has the potential of a null year for the academic year 2021-22 which could result in non-availability of about 80,000 doctors five years later.
After carefully considering all factors, the Commission recommends the following:
- Medical colleges across the country must re-open on or before 1st December 2020 for the MBBS students already pursuing their course.
- The delayed new academic session for 2020-21 should commence from 1st February 2021.
- The new PG session for the academic year 2020-21 should begin from at least 1st July 2021 and therefore the PG-NEET exam for the AY 2021-22 would need to be scheduled around March-April 2021.
- The Commission also noted that hospitals attached to teaching hospitals have been converted to complete COVID hospitals in several states. However, with opening of the medical colleges, and to facilitate UG training, all medical college affiliated hospitals would need to have sufficient number of beds for non-COVID patients and hence facilities for both outpatient and inpatient management for non-COVID patients must be re-started, if not already done.
It is requested that the Central Government may issue necessary directions to all State Governments for re-opening of medical colleges and also making available non-COVID beds in the affiliated medical college hospitals to facilitate undergraduate medical training. The Colleges shall abide with the COVID 19 reopening guidelines issued by the Competent authorities in Central/State/UT Govts. The proposed schedule of medical training commencing on or before 1* December 2020 as approved by the National Medical Commission is annexed.
Tentative Schedule of MBBS Curriculum from 2021-2024
The fourth and final part of the letter / notification outlines the recommendation of timelines for interns, start of PG course, and medical UG curriculum.