Indian medical students who had returned from war-torn Ukraine will now be allowed to relocate to universities in other countries and complete their studies. There are about 18000 such students who have left their MBBS midway due to different reasons. They came back but could not see the future. Due to the special circumstances they were airlifted back to India; besides this the honorable courts intervened and the National Medical Commission (NMC) has recognized the academic mobility program offered by Ukraine to allow such students to complete their education. (The degree will be awarded by the parent Ukrainian university only.) I realized that during 80s when I was pursuing my MBBS & PG degree from SMS medical college, which is a prestigious government medical college, the cost of education that my family (in India) had to bear was much lower than what it is today particularly in the private medical colleges. MBBS cost in our country and abroad includes tuition fees, application fees, books and tools, living costs, pre education entrance courses like TOFEL, IELTS, MCAT (Medical College admission tests). We have 88,120 MBBS seats in 590 medical colleges (December 2021). Just over half of these seats are in government colleges where the fees are affordable. On an average INR 2 crore is spent for a 18-year-old school leaver from an average financial background; I believe that it is worth asking Why do students go abroad for Medical education? Is it lucrative? The answers that I noticed are:
Rule of economics: If the demand for goods or services increases, so will the price. The ratio of students seeking admission: to number of medical seats is 16:1.
Education loan: One of the probable reasons of inflated tuition fees is availability of low interest education loan and this has to be paid after you get a job.
Competition drive: Medical institutes attract the candidates by branding through state of the art facilities, simulation centers and clinical science buildings, all of which require funding. This leads to a significant rise in cost but not necessarily in the quality of their medical education.
Revenue diversion: Tuition fee is diverted for research. This investment brings in further grants from star alumni / government departments etc. This is likely to impact the teaching commitments and clinical duties
We all know that medical education is expensive, whether it is in India or abroad. Thus think before you invest. It is essential to do a good research of medical colleges in Indian context. The medium of instructions should be English. The course should be recognized by NMC. You must get every opportunity for hands on training and learning through patient doctor interaction. The colleges must have faculty with international repute and education & not their home-grown faculty.
Friends, do not be a part of herd mobility (भेड़ चाल). The speculation that the cost of medical education abroad is cheaper is true but when it comes to evaluation, we realize that it is actually a compromise, remember all that glitters is not gold (हर चमकती वस्तु सोना नहीं होती).