The Center's decision to conduct a common entrance test (CET) for admission to MBBS courses at all government and private medical colleges across the country has left the medical education authorities in state worried
The Union health ministry and the Medical Council of India (MCI) reached a consensus on Monday that the CET would replace all other entrance tests for admission into the 271-odd medical colleges, including over 130 private institutes, in the country. The proposed test will be held by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), ensuring uniformity in medical education across the country. The MCI will prepare the course structure for the test, sources said.
As per MCI guidelines, students have to secure at least 50% marks in Plus II as well as in the entrance test. Though the 50% qualifying mark in Plus II is not being seen as a problem, the authorities fear an adequate number of students from the state may not get 50% marks in the all-India entrance test.
The ministers of Orissa want that the state government has conveyed its apprehension to the Union health ministry and the Medical Council of India. "We have suggested to them that in such a situation, the state should be allowed to have the alternative option to take its own students to fill the vacant seats." he said.
Orissa has five medical colleges in all, three government and two private. There are a total of 450 seats in the three government colleges, of which the state's quota is 384. There are another 100 seats in private colleges. The seats are likely to go up by 150 in the next academic session, bringing the total number of seats to 700. If enough students from Orissa don't qualify in the test to fill all the reserved seats, some of the seats in the state may go to outside students, the medical education authorities fear.
"Since the medical CET will be a national-level examination, it won't be according to our syllabus and, so, sufficient students from the state may not qualify in it," said Sita Ram Mahapatra, vice-chairman of Orissa Joint Entrance Examination (OJEE).
"We are facing a gross shortage of doctors. If students from outside the state are allowed to take admission in the seats reserved for students from Orissa, they would go back after completion of their courses. This will worsen the problem of shortage of doctors in the state," Mahapatra added.
The CET decision has evoked mixed reaction from students. "I will now have to appear for just one test and fill up one application form," said Srikant Kumar, an aspirant. However, another student, Sanjeeb Sahu, fears his months of preparations would go waste. "I am preparing only for the Orissa JEE. In an all-India test, both the syllabus and the question pattern will be different. I will have to start all over again," said Sahu, who has been taking coaching for medical entrance tests in the city.