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MBBS in Hindi: Doctors say ‘detrimental and irrelevant’ to change curriculum language

The Madhya Pradesh government proposed to launch medical courses in Hindi in early September 2021 but the National Medical Commission (NMC) did not approve of it, stating that medical courses conducted in any language other than English will not be recognised by the commission.

MBBS counselling, Seat matrixThe Madhya Pradesh government proposed to launch medical courses in Hindi in early September 2021 but the National Medical Commission (NMC) did not approve of it. File.

Uttarakhand Education Minister Dhan Singh Rawat had recently said that the state will soon launch MBBS courses in the Hindi language. He had claimed that the move would help students from Hindi-medium backgrounds compete better with their counterparts from English-medium schools.

Dr Arun Kumar Gupta, president of the Delhi Medical Council, however, said the vocabulary of MBBS is completely based on English, whereas Ayurveda follows the Indian vocabulary system.

“Most books that are a part of the modern medical education have been written and published in the west, by default, in the English language. The medium of instruction can be changed to Hindi but it is not possible to change the academic vocabulary of the MBBS curriculum. Even if the books are translated, almost all reputable research papers and journals are published in English,” he told The Indian Express.

The Madhya Pradesh government proposed to launch medical courses in Hindi in early September 2021 but the National Medical Commission (NMC) did not approve of it, stating that medical courses conducted in any language other than English will not be recognised by the commission.

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AIIMS Rishikesh Professor, Dr Amit Gupta, also raised concerns about the inability of teachers to teach MBBS in Hindi.

“When we were students, we also took all our classes in English. In the entire country, there is not a single college which is conducting MBBS, MDS, or BDS classes in Hindi or any other regional language. The teachers, by default, are trained to teach in English as they’ve also been taught in the same language. So, if the course has to be launched in Hindi, then the teachers will also have to be trained along with translating the entire syllabus, which is going to be a tedious process,” Gupta added.

He further said that colleges may teach students from north India in Hindi but what about students who belong to the southern or north-eastern states? “In India, students migrate from one state to the other for medical education as the top institutes are scattered and situated across the country,” he said.

MBBS admissions across the country are conducted through the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG). Over 16 lakh students appear for the single entrance exam to secure a seat in a bachelor’s level medical course in the country. As per the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2021, of the top 10 medical institutes, five are situated in the southern region — Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Pondicherry.

Dr Aloy Mukherjee, senior consultant, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, told indianexpress.com that medical education in Hindi or any regional language has a longstanding disadvantage as the graduates have to get out and work wherever their services are required.

“It is only going to pull us down. Hindi as the medium of language can be added as an adjunct but to have the entire course completely in Hindi is going to be detrimental. MBBS is not a basic degree course as a student has to apply everything in situations that require life risks. Doctors cannot be held to serve only in one particular region and they would like to explore other opportunities. The graduates will also not be eligible to go out of India and pursue higher education, fellowship, or research,” Mukherjee told indianexpress.com.

Dr Mohit Singh, who is currently working as a junior resident at the Rajshree Medical Research Institute, Bareilly, and is also the National President of the Indian Medical Students Organization (IMSO), said that MBBS in Hindi isn’t a viable option in contemporary times.

“There are no standard medical books in the Hindi language. More importantly, the surgical and pharmacy sectors are completely based on English. It is a bitter truth that English is like carbonic anhydrase to medical education. One cannot learn medicine without the English language. The Uttarakhand government should focus on making AYUSH, which is already in the Hindi language, more resonant with modern medicine and also increase the R&D budget,” Singh added.

Parijat Mishra, Head, Career Counsellor (Academics), Allen Career Institute, Kota, also believes that medical courses should be conducted only in English.

“For instance, two practising doctors have completed their medical education in Tamil and Telugu, respectively. The nursing staff is from northeast India and the patient is from Karnataka. Then, how will the system communicate with each other if not through a common language, i.e. English? Medicine study in a regional language is common in Russia, China, and some European countries, but it might not be recognised by countries such as the US or UK where opportunities and technology are better and ever-evolving,” Mishra said.

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