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Friday, Oct 07, 2022

NMC allows Indian medical students from China, Ukraine to sit for FMGE

Those who have completed course, granted a certificate on or before June 30 eligible for one-time relaxation

Ukraine returnee students, Ukraine returneesOnly students who have completed the courses and have been granted a certificate of completion on or before June 30, 2022 will be eligible for this one-time relaxation. (Representative image. Express photo)

Final year medical students from countries such as China and Ukraine, who were forced to return to India owing to the Covid-19 pandemic or the war, will now be eligible to appear in Foreign Medical Graduate Exam (FMGE) — a screening test that foreign medical students have to clear to practise in the country.

Only students who have completed the courses and have been granted a certificate of completion on or before June 30, 2022, will be eligible for this one-time relaxation by the National Medical Commission (NMC), the apex body regulating medical education in the country.

“Thereafter, upon qualifying the FMGE, such foreign medical graduates are required to undergo compulsory rotating medical internship for a period of two years to make up for the clinical training which could not be physically attended by them,” a public notice from NMC said.

The foreign medical graduates will be eligible to get a permanent registration for practising in the country only after completing the two-year internship. The notice stated: “The above relaxation… is a one-time measure and shall not be treated as precedence in the future.”

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At present, to appear for the FMGE exam in India, foreign medical graduates have to complete their training and a one-year internship at the university they are enrolled in. They then had to do a one-year internship in India as well to get permanent registration.

The relaxation is unlikely to help many students as the FMGE is notorious for low pass percentage. On an average, only 21.3% of the students from Ukraine who applied for the screening test in the last five years passed it. There were 4,311 students who applied for the test in 2021, and 26.05% of them passed, according to data from the National Board of Examination.

Of the total 40,740 students who appeared for the test in 2021, 24.5% passed.

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This proposal was submitted by the undergraduate medical board of the NMC on orders of the Supreme Court. The proposal did not explicitly mention what students from other batches could do, but officials said the first and second-year medical students, who joined their college after November 2021, can appear again for NEET to seek admission in Indian colleges. These students, unlike the third and fourth-year students, cannot take a transfer to universities in other European countries.

The new guidelines for foreign medical graduates that came into force in November 2021 states that the students have to complete their entire training and internship from the same university.

Around 18,000 medical students returned from Ukraine after the war started in February. The students, while attending theory classes online, have been asking the Indian government to accommodate them in India. However, officials from NMC have been clear that this cannot be done.

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“There are just over 90,000 seats in India. How can we give 18,000 of these to people who did not get admission here in the first place? There are lakhs of people who apply for the test from the country and the seats have to be allocated on merit basis,” an official from the regulatory body said.

Bengal accommodates 412 Ukraine returnees, govt denies NMC nod Without permission from the NMC, however, the West Bengal government had granted seats to 412 persons who returned from the war-torn country.

Of the 412 people the government allotted seats to, only 23 were final-year students who have been allowed to complete internships in government medical colleges. Another 135 fourth and fifth-year students have been allowed to complete their theoretical training online from colleges in Ukraine while receiving practical training in India.

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Also, 172 students from the second and third year have been allowed to attend practical classes in India and 78 first-year students, who had appeared for the same year’s NEET, were allowed to undergo counselling for management quota seats in private colleges, with the government urging them to give concession on fees.

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The health ministry, however, in the ongoing Parliament session in response to a question stated: “No permission has been given by the NMC to transfer or accommodate any foreign medical students in any Indian medical institute or university.”

First published on: 29-07-2022 at 03:35:33 pm
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