Examination Blues: MCI not in favour to move MBBS batch to next level without exam

In an attempt to cut the waiting period for students, the Medical Council of India (MCI) released an advisory on Tuesday stating pending supplementary examinations for final year Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme which were scheduled during the first half of 2020 should be conducted as soon as possible. The council further stated that students will join medical colleges or hospitals for internships after passing final exams.

The MCI stated, “It is advised to medical colleges and universities that no batch of students should be permitted to move to the next level of MBBS course without an examination. The pending supplementary examinations for final year MBBS programme which were scheduled during the first half of 2020 should be conducted as soon as possible as students are waiting to appear for the examination having completed the course once already and need not have to wait for the formal reopening of colleges."

Final year students studying in colleges and universities affiliated to the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS), Nashik were worried about pursuing internships amidst COVID-19 risks. Mridul Bakshi, a final year MBBS student said, "I have already completed my due course but my final exam is pending. I do not want to pursue an internship without clearing my exam." As per the advisory of MCI, final year MBBS students will be joining internships after passing final exams.

In addition, MCI stated colleges should aim to complete the First MBBS course within the first two months of reopening and thereafter the first MBBS university exams should be completed preferably within a month. While, the exams for Second and Third (Part 1) MBBS programmes may have to be delayed by two to three months beyond their scheduled dates.

Only in view of the prevailing difficulties on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MCI released this advisory as a one-time measure for the undergraduate (UG) exams. Further, it has recommended alternative methods of skill evaluation for conduct of practical and clinical examinations. MCI stated alternative methods of skill evaluation such as Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) or Objective Structured Practical Examination (OSCE), simulations and case scenarios may be used in lieu of clinical cases.

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