NEET and Limited Government Seats
The National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) is the gateway to medical education in India, but the number of government college seats is insufficient to accommodate all successful candidates. In 2021, out of 16 lakh NEET takers, only 10% secured seats in government colleges, leaving the rest to consider expensive private institutions.
Exorbitant Fee Structure in Private Colleges
Private medical colleges charge exorbitant fees, often exceeding Rs 70 lakh for an MBBS course. The recent circular by the National Medical Commission (NMC) aiming to align private college fees with government colleges faces implementation challenges, as colleges fear losses and increased unaffordability.
Overregulation and High Costs in Opening Colleges
Medical education in India faces overregulation, adding unnecessary costs for colleges to meet requirements related to infrastructure, faculty, and administrative staff. Establishing a 150-seat medical college can cost between Rs 700 crore and Rs 1,000 crore, pushing only big businessmen and politicians to invest.
Students Seek Affordable Alternatives Abroad
Frustrated by limited government seats and unaffordable private college fees, Indian students seek cheaper medical education abroad. Countries like Ukraine, China, and the Philippines offer medical courses at a fraction of Indian costs, leading to an influx of Indian medical students.
Challenges of Foreign Medical Graduates
Foreign medical graduates must clear the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination to practice medicine in India. However, only 20-30% pass the test, indicating potential quality issues in some foreign institutions’ medical education.
Proposed Solutions and Way Forward
Experts propose increasing college intake, affiliating with hospitals, and encouraging big chains to enter medical education to reduce costs and enhance accessibility in India’s medical education. India’s medical education system grapples with limited government seats, high private college fees, and overregulation, prompting students to seek affordable options abroad, emphasizing the need for reforms.