Number of students aspiring to study medicine abroad is rising rapidly with applications from such candidates increasing by 74% in just one year between 2016-17 and 2017-18, official data show.

The Medical Council of India (MCI) received 18,383 applications in 2017-18 for the mandatory eligibility certificate required so far from the medical education regulator to study medicine abroad, as against 10,555 applications in the previous year, as per information given by MCI. MCI issued a total of 14,118 eligibility certificates in 2017-18, compared to 8,737 in 2016- 2017.

Experts say while the number of medical seats are limited in India, increasing awareness about foreign institutes coupled with their affordability has resulted in more aspirants seeking admissions abroad.

“Information provided in the RTI speaks volume on the shift in medical education trends. The key reason for this is the lack of medical seats in India. Apart from this, higher awareness levels of the overseas colleges, more affordable fees compared to Indian private colleges, curriculum aligned to international standards etc. are other reasons why students prefer to study MBBS abroad,” says Saju Bhaskar, president & founder of an overseas medical university, Texila American University.

However, there are concerns that the trend will impact the quality of doctors coming to practice in India. “Quality of medical education in India is one of the best. However, since the number of seats are limited and candidates have to qualify a tough test, other countries like Russia, China and Eastern Europe provide an easy path for those who can pay,” says Dr Gurinder Grewal, former president, Punjab Medical Council. Around 12 lakh aspirants take NEET for undergraduate medical course every year. Out of this, around six lakh clear the exam for about 68,000 MBBS seats. The rest try for dental and Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) courses. Many of these candidates, who fail to qualify NEET, also pursue medical education abroad, mainly in countries where they can seek admission with entrance examination.

By Sushmi

December 17th, 2018

74% Rise in Indian Students Seeking Foreign Medical Degree

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