Published: 14th October 2022
Madhya Pradesh: Three medical subjects to be taught in Hindi. Will it bring benefits or prove to be a liability?
Students, health activists, doctors and others speak about the advantages and disadvantages of the government's decision
The Madhya Pradesh government has decided to inculcate Hindi as a medium of instruction in medical education from the current academic session. It was recently announced that three MBBS subjects — Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology will be taught in Hindi to first-year students of all 13 government medical colleges in the State. And for this purpose, books on the three subjects are being issued in the National language.
As per a report by Careers 360, the Chikitsa Hindi Prakoshth is the committee which has been appointed with the task of designing the textbooks. It has been stated in the report that the books would be available by October 16 and would be launched by Amit Shah in Bhopal.
This comes at a time when the BJP-led government has been criticised by Southern states like Tamil Nadu and Telangana for imposing Hindi in education. Now, the news of Hindi as a medium of instruction in medical colleges has also drawn flak from others.
An expert weighs in
"It is a political move. India is a diverse country and students from diverse backgrounds come to study in government colleges. Students from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, who are not well-versed in Hindi — how will they cope? They will be deprived of seats because of this decision," said Jayprakash Gandhi, career consultant.
He also added that the field of medicine is research-oriented, in which, one has to constantly keep updating and learning. "But the journals, research materials and even the PG and PhD courses are available only in English. As such, a student will find it very difficult to pursue higher education in the field," Gandhi said.
He further opined that when conducting entrance exams like NEET and JEE in Hindi was initiated, the translated question papers had many errors and issues. "When organising simple entrance exams in Hindi is proving to be a challenge, how can three whole subjects be taught in Hindi?" the consultant questioned.
"It was also seen that when regional languages were introduced in technical education, there weren't many takers," Gandhi said. "For example, in Tamil Nadu, even the Tamil-medium students opted for Engineering courses in English, keeping in view the job prospects and future," he said.
When instructions from international bodies is in English, how will these students manage?
"It is not a good move. The Class XI and XII syllabi are in English for most students. The medium of instruction for higher education is also English. Teaching the subjects in Hindi would not bring much positive impact," said Dr Vivek Pandey, a health activist from Rewa.
Dr Rohan Krishnan, President of FAIMA (Federation of All India Medical Association) believes that medical education in India is well-established, but this move will take it back 20 years.
"Countries like Russia, China and Ukraine instruct doctors in the local language. And it can be noted that the medical institutions in those countries are not as reputed as India's. The students from those countries are not even allowed to practice in India unless they pass an exam," he said.
"On the other hand, medical institutions in Australia, the UK and the USA are of high repute and they teach students in English," Dr Rohan added. "So, the government should not deteriorate the quality of education that we have," he stated.
Dr Rohan further said that journals, guidelines and regulations from international bodies like the WHO (World Health Organization) and UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund), which doctors need to follow, are available in English. "Even for the drugs, FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval is necessary. How will a doctor manage it if Hindi is used as a medium of instruction in colleges?" he questioned.
As long as it is limited to the first year...
When EdexLive reached out to medical students from the state, they said that the government's decision has both advantages and disadvantages. "Most of the current textbooks that we follow have foreign authors. It becomes very difficult for us sometimes to understand the words and terminologies. If students are taught in Hindi, it will be easy for them to understand," said Richa Gupta, a medical student from Ujjain.
"The students who come from Hindi-medium schools will also find it beneficial," she added. However, she opined that the move will be beneficial as long it was limited to introducing subjects in Hindi in the first year. "It should not be done in the subsequent years. We have the main clinical subjects from the third year onwards. Hindi then would be disadvantageous. Not only will it be difficult to study, but it will also drag medical education back in time by 50 years," Richa said.
Rishikesh Nagar, another medical student from the state, said, "Some students who are not good with English will find it helpful. The medical syllabus is extremely vast. Students have a hard time memorising and understanding the subjects in a language they are not comfortable with." According to him, it will be easy for the students to learn and write exams in Hindi.
Rishikesh also said that the move will help with diagnosing."Doctors from the state will most likely practice in the state. Local patients do not know English well and explain their ailments in Hindi. If a doctor can converse with patients in their language, use terms they understand, it will help in treating them better," he explained.
The students, however, state that Hindi should not be made the only medium of instruction. "English should not be completely eroded," Richa said, while "Students should be able to choose the medium they are most comfortable in," Rishikesh said.
No harm done
"Technical and medical education should be available in local languages. Countries like China, Russia and Ukraine have already done it. So there is no harm in it. But everything should be done cautiously and in a phased manner," said Jagdish Shetty, General Secretary of the Virat Hindustan Sangam.
"Nothing should be imposed all of a sudden, without any proper preparation. Teachers well versed to teach in Hindi should be made available first," he added, stating further that students should be gradually introduced to it, after the textbooks for the proposed subjects have been made available and accessible to all.
"The move is suggestible, according to me," said IMA (Indian Medical Association) President of Telangana, Dr Sampath Rao. He added that English is an international language and accommodates all the students.