WITH admission season coming to an end, the state’s Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) has set its eyes on checking the quality of medical education in the state.
For the first time since inception, the DMER has decided to inspect all government medical institutions for quality of education imparted and rate them accordingly. A circular informing the colleges was recently issued to all government medical institutions and the process will begin early next week, said Dr Prakash Wakode, Joint Director, DMER.
“The idea is to measure teaching standards in colleges. We have defined the criteria to evaluate the colleges and based on how they do, they will be given star ratings,” said Wakode. He said the initiative was aimed at bringing back focus of medical colleges to teaching. “We understand that most medical colleges are too burdened with patient-care to concentrate on education but the aim of a medical college is to provide quality education and that should not be compromised,” said Wakode.
In its three zones across the state — Marathwada, Vidarbha and Pune-Mumbai — the DMER has identified three star-rating officers. The officers will conduct inspections of the 52 medical institutions in the 16 government-run colleges and grade them on performance for the academic year 2015-16. “The officers will check each college on how many classes were taken against the number of prescribed classes. They will also take the input of students on the kind of interaction and teachings in the classrooms,” said Wakode, adding sometimes professors and heads of departments were not able to take classes being preoccupied with their ward rounds. He said while patient-care hours gave students a hands-on experience, classroom teachings were equally important for students, particularly undergraduate.
The three officers will send their reports to DMER where a panel will decide the ratings. “The panel members will be blindfolded to the name of the institute they are evaluating to ensure a fair evaluation,” said Wakode.
The exercise, which is supposed to take a year, will push colleges to improve quality of teaching. “We want to send the message that colleges are being looked at. We also hope that the star rating results in a healthy competition among colleges,” said Wakode.
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While the exercise is restricted to government colleges for now, the DMER hopes to extend it to private medical colleges. “Looking at all medical colleges will need an independent system,” said Wakode.
The medical fraternity— teachers and students— hailed the decision. “An annual evaluation will help colleges improve academics,” said Dr Ashok Rathore, Dean of Shri Vasantrao Naik Government Medical College, Yavatmal.
He said this would ensure records were maintained properly and teachers paid attention to classroom teaching. “As a result, passing percentage of students will also improve,” said Rathore.
Dr Yashvardhan Kabra, president of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors and third-year PG student at KEM Hospital, Mumbai, said the DMER should check if students were updated with the latest technology at the colleges, especially the ones outside Mumbai.
“While colleges within Mumbai tie up and hold classes together to teach PG students the recent technologies, our colleagues from peripheral colleges have to attend Continuing Medical Education (CME) workshops to learn the same,” said Kabra.