Chandigarh: Out of about 78,000 MBBS pass-outs from medical colleges in Ukraine, Russia and China, only 15,367 were able to qualify the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE), which is mandatory to be a medical practitioner in India. Many attribute the dismal record to the not-so-good quality of medical education in these countries.
Gurpreet Singh, who completed his MBBS in 2006, could not crack the FMGE subsequently. He then began his quest to go abroad. “I had done MBBS and couldn’t have settled for anything less here. My father had already announced to the world that it was just a matter of time and I will soon be a doctor. It had become somewhat of an embarrassment for the family.”
He finally immigrated to Montreal in Canada in 2008 and started working as a pharmacist. “Back home, people still think I am a medical practitioner in Canada.”
Gurmohit Bisla did his MBBS from St Petersburg Medical University in 2007. In India, he wrote the FMGE twice but failed on both the occasions.
Later, he immigrated to Australia, did odd jobs, and began his own business. “Now he owns a liquor vend and is well settled. But yes, he always wanted to become a doctor,” stated his mother Balwinder Kaur.
TS Chawla, the father of a practising doctor in India, who studied medicine in Ukraine, had a slightly different view. “My daughter also could not qualify FMGE in the first attempt. But then she took coaching in Delhi and in the second attempt, she qualified,” he claimed.
While a compromised level of education may be one of the reasons, Chawla attributed another reason as to why Indians who obtain their degrees from Ukraine and Russia do not do well. According to him, there is a clique of medical education institutions who want to discourage Indians from going abroad for medical education so that they seek admission in these costly private colleges. “So FMGE is a test designed to fail the students who study abroad,” he alleged.
He added, “My daughter scored 97 per cent in the 12th standard. She had qualified NEET as well. She could have easily got admission in a private college here but that would have meant shelling out Rs 1 crore. So we chose Ukraine for her. After all, there are many who come through reservation with a very low score and become doctors through the Indian education system. Is there an answer to that?” Chawla asked.
Some blame the tough competition in India for many students opting to go abroad for higher studies.
Dr G Dewan, former Director Family and Health, Chandigarh stated, “The competition here is stiff. So, students go abroad because education in these countries is cheaper. But the gloomy side of it is that their record of cracking the FMGE is very low. Apart from the low quality of education, the language barrier is another reason why Indian students, even if they are hard-working, take time to understand what they are taught. By the time they have a complete grasp over the language they have already lost a year or two. This has an impact on their overall academic performance.”
FMGE was first introduced on March 15, 2002, and is held twice a year. The year 2020 saw 36,912 candidates take the test. Out of these, 5,420 qualified. In 2021, 41,739 candidates appeared and 9,948 qualified. Now, many coaching centres have mushroomed in Delhi’s Ansari Nagar and Gautam Nagar areas and charge up to Rs 1.50 lakh per student to help them prepare for the FMGE.
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