The National Medical Commission has, in its guidelines, proposed to reduce the percentage of teaching microbiologists, pharmacologists and biochemists in medical colleges — a move that the teachers are opposing
Non-medical teachers and scientists have appealed to the National Medical Commission (NMC) to not reduce their representation in medical colleges.
The NMC has, in its guidelines, proposed to reduce the percentage of teaching microbiologists, pharmacologists and biochemists in medical colleges.
Sridhar Rao, president of the MSc Medical Teachers Association, said that since 1960, MBBS students were taught physiology, biochemistry and anatomy as part of their course work in the first three years by non-medical science graduates. However, the NMC had decided to reduce by half their representation in medical colleges. “Earlier 50% of the teaching posts in these subjects were reserved for non-medical science graduates, but in biochemistry now this has now been reduced to 15%. It is worse for microbiology and pharmacology as no non-medical graduates will be appointed to teach the subjects,” he said.
The guidelines would apply from the academic year 2021-22 for all medical colleges; including all medical colleges that apply for seat enhancement. It would affect the new appointments in medical colleges as well, Mr. Rao said.
According to him the new guideline could render nearly 6,000 medical scientists in the country jobless in the coming years. Those who retain their jobs will have no opportunity for promotion or salary hikes, he said.
Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Madras S.P. Thyagarajan, who is a microbiologist and currently Dean of Research at Sri Ramachandara Institute for Higher Education and Research, agrees with the Association’s demand.
In the 1960s when medical students shunned non-clinical subjects such as anatomy, microbiology, and physiology, the Medical Council of India stepped in and introduced Medical MSc courses to create teachers. The colleges used these specialists’ expertise, many of them with PhDs, to conduct experiments “and they were helpful in building research capabilities,” he explained.
But with more doctors with non-clinical medical degrees becoming teachers, the non-medical graduate teachers are now losing out. “Research and lab-oriented research can be done in a big and much better way by these non-medical graduates,” Prof. Thyagarajan said. With more medical colleges coming up in rural areas there is need to retain the non-medical graduates as doctors were unwilling to go to rural areas, he added.
“There is a need for these graduates and it may not be advisable to reduce or remove the non-medical graduates. My opinion is that the 30% is a good combination where both medically qualified and non-medical people can build newer techniques, new research and students can be trained in the latest technologies. This should be continued for the benefit of the graduates,” he said.
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