SMS Medical College Jaipur: 248 out of 250 MBBS students barred from finals exams? Here’s why

The incident grabbed public attention when an official notice by the department was posted on social media informing that only one student has qualified for the exam
Read details here | (Photo: Edex Live)
Read details here | (Photo: Edex Live)

A strange incident has come forward from Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Medical College in Jaipur, Rajasthan, where only two out of 250 MBBS students in the community medicine department have qualified for the final exam.

The incident grabbed public attention when an official notice by the department was posted on the social media platform X mentioning the one student and the fact that he had qualified.

“This is to inform you that only the following one student fulfils the criteria laid down by NMC and RUHS (Rajasthan University of Health Sciences) for appearing in Final MBBS Part-1 University Examination in Community Medicine,” the viral notice dated December 11, read.

The tweet was posted by X user @Indian__doctor who is an MBBS student and a health activist on X on December 11. Around the same time and date, user @manish__aman, who is a researcher at AIIMS Kalyani, also shared the notice on X and has received close to 1,50,000 views and almost 600 likes on X. 

Mayank Saini, a 2020-batch MBBS student at the institute was named in the notice as the only student qualifying for final examinations in the department. However, a faculty member from the SMS Medical College informed EdexLive, on the condition of anonymity, that another student from the department, Mohammed Abrar, who was detained due to an administrative error, has also qualified for the examination.

Now, following the incident, many netizens have raised concerns about the state of the medical education system and the toxic institutional environment.

So, why were the rest of the 248 MBBS students barred from appearing for the finals exams? The department has clarified that it was mainly done due to a shortage of attendance, as per the norms laid down by the National Medical Commission (NMC).

Attendance shortage
While speaking to EdexLive, the faculty member from SMS Medical College, explained, on the condition of anonymity, “It is the NMC that lays out all these guidelines. As per the prerequisite, the students are required to attain 75 per cent attendance in theory and 80 per cent minimum attendance in practicals as it is a professional course by nature. This is apart from the internal assessment requirements.”

The MBBS course which is 4.5 years long is conducted in four phases. As per the NMC guidelines, if a subject is being taught for more than one phase, then the students are required to achieve the minimum attendance requirements in all the phases separately in order to be eligible for the final exams which are conducted at the end of Phase 3, the faculty member explained.

“In the case of the 2020 batch, the department did not have attendance records for the first phase, as the classes were conducted online for that year. We only took in consideration the attendance figures for the second and third phase,” he added.

It was informed that the Head of Department (HoD), Community Medicine, had held a meeting with the students and Principal Dr Rajeev Bagarhatta in the month of March 2023, warning them about their attendance situation. Moreover, the department also held extra classes in the month of November and from December 5 to December 11, to give an opportunity to the students to make up for their attendance deficit.

“Now, the plight of students is that they have to attend classes of Community Medicine from 8 am to 7 pm with only an hour of lunch break in between. This included four hours of theory and six hours of practical training. However, as the students were not attending these classes, they were called off,” he further explained.

The final examinations for the 2020 MBBS batch are scheduled to start from December 21 onwards.

Underlying issue
While the incident may have come as strange and shocking news to the netizens, it points towards a bigger issue with medical education in India.

The faculty member from SMS Medical College Jaipur said that the students are more focused on preparing for the upcoming NEET-PG (National Eligibility Entrance Test-Postgraduate) examination and hence, end up losing out on the MBBS training being provided in colleges.

“It is a chronic issue which has been there for the past eight to 10 years. In my interaction with these students, I found out that 50 per cent of them have not yet bought a stethoscope even after three years of MBBS training. How are these students supposed to handle lives in the future? They are more focused on attending coaching classes online for the preparation of other examinations. Even the students who have been assigned rural service or compulsory rotating medical internship (CRMI) have been found not tending to patients,” he added.

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