India’s medical education curriculum is getting a makeover after 21 years with the Medical Council of India (MCI), the country’s medical education regulator, revising the syllabus for the bachelor’s degree programme in medicine.
The new MBBS syllabus, which focuses on skill-based and hands-on training, will be published next month and come into effect from the 2019-20 academic session. “The syllabus is ready and the final content is being proof-read. It will be published in September and introduced from the next academic session, as this year it will be difficult for colleges to adopt it,” said Dr Reena Nayyar, secretary of MCI.
“Information on new diseases has been included while irrelevant chapters not needed in general practice have been removed,” she added.
MCI has also started training teachers across India to teach the new syllabus from next year.
“Over the last six months or so, we have trained close to 40,000 teachers identified by the respective medical education departments of medical colleges, and these teachers will further train their colleagues on how to handle the new course material,” said Nayyar.
Teachers say the change has been long overdue.
“New topics relevant in the current scenario have been introduced and many outdated topics have been deleted, which was needed given the increase in knowledge and skills,” said Dr NN Mathur, principal, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College at New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. There has been a considerable delay in finalising the new syllabus. The revision process started in 2013 but the Union health ministry approved the new course content only in December last year.
The undergraduate medical syllabus was last revised in 1997. It was heavy on theory, especially in anatomy, pathology and physiology. Students acquired clinical experience at hospitals from the third year. The new curriculum will have students observing treatment at hospitals from their first year.
“The world over, the trend is shifting towards exposure to practical knowledge and the integration of knowledge systems. For example, if you are being taught about the upper limbs, then all systems— anatomy, physiology, surgery and orthopaedics – are taught simultaneously rather than separately in different years, which often leads to repetition,” Mathur said.