New Delhi: The health ministry on Monday made the national eligibility-cum-entrance test (NEET) mandatory for even those who wish to pursue medical courses in foreign universities.
NEET was introduced in 2016 for admission to government and private medical colleges in India. “It has come to notice that medical institutions/universities of foreign countries admit Indian students without proper assessment or screening of the students’ academic ability to cope up with medical education with the result that many students fail to qualify the screening test.
“In this regard, the proposal of Medical Council of India (MCI) to amend the Screening Test Regulations, 2002, making it mandatory to qualify NEET to pursue foreign medical course has been approved by this ministry,” according to an official statement. According to a senior health ministry official, a mere 12-15 per cent of the graduates who come back after studying abroad manage to clear the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE).
“If they don’t clear the FMGE, they don’t get registered to practise in India. In such cases, they start quackery or practise illegally, which can be dangerous. So the move is aimed at ensuring only competent students get to study medicine in foreign universities,” he said. FMGE is a examination conducted by the Medical Council of India before giving licence to doctors to practise. At present, a student who wishes to take up admission to a medical course outside India has to obtain an ‘Essentiality Certificate’ from the MCI. Every year, around 7,000 students go outside India to study medicine, mostly to China and Russia.