The Supreme Court on Tuesday, October 5, said the tragedy of medical education in the country was that it had become a business. The observation from a Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud came while the court pulled up the Centre and the National Board of Examinations (NBE) for making last-minute changes to the pattern of the National Eligibility-Cum- Entrance Test- Super Specialty (NEET-SS) 2021.
The bench noted that usually seats are never vacant in government colleges. Rather it is always in private colleges. "We have a surmise, that the seats in government colleges are not lying vacant. It is a reasonable surmise. It appears that the entire haste is for filling the vacant seats", it noted.
'Medical Education Has Become Business'
Justice Chandrachud remarked, "The impression we get is medical education has become a business, and medical regulation has also become a business. That is the tragedy of medical education in this country".
In a more than two-hour long hearing, the court emphasised that the interest of students is far higher than that of the institutions and private institutions have made investments, and in this scenario, a balance needs to be struck.
The court noted that questions under the revised pattern were wholly from General Medicine, which was a feeder category. The earlier pattern had 60 per cent of the questions coming from the student's chosen field of speciality and the rest from the feeder category.
Why The Sudden Change?
The court reasoned that this sudden change was meant to favour General Medicine, in which the largest pool of students were found, to fill the seats. "For 12 super specialities, 100% questions are from General Medicine. The entire examination is going to be only be on General Medicine. The logic seems to be, General Medicine is the largest pool, and tap them to fill the seats. That seems to be idea," the bench noted. In an earlier hearing, the court said that "young doctors cannot be left to the mercy of insensitive bureaucrats and cannot be treated like football".