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Health ministry rankings help you choose a medical school abroad

10/10/2015

Those looking to study medicine abroad have their priorities cut out — apart from choosing a reputed institute, they have to factor in tuition fees, cost of living and the city or country they want to go to. To make their search easy, the ministry of health and family welfare has come up with a list of medical institutes they can apply to as degrees from these universities will hold value in India too. The institutes have been ranked on the basis of how students have performed in a screening test, the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE). The FMGE is a licensure exam which screens out test-takers who do not have the aptitude for medicine and select those who are capable of boosting the country’s physician workforce with their knowledge and skills.
 
The list has around 286 institutions from 42 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, United Arab Emirates and Romania. NBE has ranked institutes on the basis of results of around 35,000 students who cleared their MBBS exams between 2012 and 2014. About 9,690 Indian students passed the screening test during this period with an overall pass percentage of about 27%. The maximum number of graduates, according to the ranking, were from China (11,825) with a pass percentage of 18.9%, followed by Russia (5,950) with a pass percentage of 18.4%, Ukraine (3,520) with a pass percentage of 19.1% and Nepal (3,163) with a pass percentage of 21.2%.
 
There are 16 colleges and universities from where Indian students have graduated in the NBE screening test with a pass percentage of 100%. Two colleges in China – Chenyang Medical College and College of the Left Side of China have a pass percentage of 100% Indians in the test. Russia’s Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University also has a pass percentage of 100% as has Ukraine’s VN Karazin Kharkiv National Medical University. Nepal’s Nobel Medical College has been ranked number one on the NBE list with a pass percentage of 32%. BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences is a close second with a pass percentage of 31%.
 
With increasing competition and fewer MBBS seats in India for lakhs of students who apply, many medical aspirants contemplate pursuing education abroad in countries such as China, Ukraine, Russia and the Philippines. Another reason for choosing these countries over others is the cheaper educational cost when compared to the more expensive countries like the US or UK.
 
Experts say the health ministry move will help students as well as the Indian medical fraternity. “Generally speaking, a ranking based on objectively structured criteria and defined weightage accruable thereto is definitely useful for a student to make an appropriate choice for seeking admission to a concerned college. An objectively-based categorisation is of definite use to the stakeholders,” says Dr Jayshree Mehta, president, Medical Council of India.
 
Dr Mehta says that the present scenario would be affected to the extent that the Indian students opting for foreign medical qualifications could make an ‘informed choice’ while selecting an institute. “This would be on the basis of specific quality information handily available to him so that the choice is not blind in nature but is based on subtle relevant information. However, the ranking would turn out to be of consequence and relevance provided it is made in an objective and definitive manner,” she adds.
 
Dr KK Aggarwal, honorary secretary general, Indian Medical Association, agrees. “We must remember that students make institutions and institutions do not make students. An institution like AIIMS has the best results because the best students go there. Through such a ranking, students can know the pass percentage of these institutions. China and Russia have the cheapest medical fee and that is why most students go there. This kind of ranking helps.”
 
How did Indians fare in FMGE?
 
The National Board of Examinations has ranked medical institutes based on the results of around 35,000 students obtaining MBBS degrees from select institutes between 2012 and 2014
 
9,690 Indian students passed the screening test during 2012-2014 with an overall pass percentage of about 27%
 
11,825 Students from 87 colleges in China appeared for the FMGE from 2012-2014 and 2,239 Indians passed
 
5,950 Students from 34 colleges in Russia appeared for the FMGE and 1,094 Indians passed
 
3,520 Students from 18 colleges in Ukraine appeared for the FMGE and 671 Indians passed
 
3,163 Students from 14 colleges in Nepal appeared for the FMGE between 2012 and 2014.

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