Hemmed in by mushrooming coaching centres promising phenomenal success rates in the screening test for foreign medical graduates and enterprising foreign medical universities holding special classes for students,the National Board of Examinations (NBE) has moved a proposal to make it an online instead of a pen and paper examination. The NBE also wants to introduce biometric identity cards for candidates to crack down upon cases of impersonation.
We would like to go online with the screening test as early as possible. If the necessary clearances come through we would want to do it for the test in September,but it would require an amendment to the regulations of the screening test and permission from the Central government. We have moved for both. There is too much effort involved in maintaining secrecy of a physical test and every year we have large numbers of cases of impersonation. All that would be difficult with an e-format with provision for biometric identification and more application based questions with graphics,pictures etc can be asked, said Dr Bipin Batra,executive director,NBE.
Holding the mandate of standardising postgraduate medical examinations,the NBE boasts an enviable record of not having had a single leak since its inception in 1975. However,sources say,it has been a tough balancing act staying a step ahead of touts and coaching centres in the screening test. It is a big money game with the test being the last hurdle for students who have spent Rs 20-30 lakh to procure a medical degree,but cannot practice in India unless they clear the test,and in desperation often resort to any means to ensure pass marks.
The Medical Council of India recognises degrees only from the US,UK,New Zealand,Australia and Canada. Graduates from all other countries have to clear the entrance test before they can be registered as medical practitioners in the country.