Mumbai : The Indian Medical Association (IMA) which calls itself the voice of doctors and medical students has called for an agitation against the proposed exit test NEXT (National Exit Test) for MBBS graduates.

On February 1, the agitation will be held by medical students across the state in medical colleges – government as well as private between 9 am and 1 pm. Students will boycott classes for two hours during this period.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had prepared a draft bill to amend the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. The bill proposes to introduce an exit test for students of medicine. Only those who clear this multiple-choice-question examination will be able to practice medicine in the country. Medical students are by and large against this test which might eliminate their chances of practising the profession if they fail to clear the test.

One of the reasons NEXT is being brought in is said to be for standardisation of MBBS examination held under different universities. IMA demands for a standardised examination to be held at the end of the course and also at the same time across the country instead of NEXT to ensure standardisation. But the association does not want this standardised examination to a licensing one like NEXT.

Referring to the theoretical nature of the proposed exit test, Dr. Ajoy Saha, West Zone Co-ordinator, IMA students wing said, “In the MBBS course a student is evaluated on clinical acumen. How can a multiple-choice-question test like this one assess them? Do we want MCQ doctors? The students won’t know where to invest their time during the course.” He added that the university examination that students answer during their course and the internship at the end is sufficient to test their knowledge.

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