Doctors, the frontline warriors amid this coronavirus pandemic, are facing immense emotional and physical stress these days due to the growing number of cases. While saving lives they are also worried about themselves and their family's safety. As a society, we must do all it takes to provide them with adequate safety and rest so that they can save as many lives as possible.
However, there are thousands of aspiring doctors who are worried about their future today. Many of them are worried about the pending exams and their feasibility. To highlight their issue, the MBBS students have taken to social media and online channels to reach out to authorities seeking cancellation of their exams amid pandemic.
Some students have also opposed the online classes citing logistic problems.In Uttar Pradesh, a group of first and final year MBBS students have also filed PIL in Allahabad High Court against the offline classes on Friday. In the PIL, the students have challenged UP Government's order to "hold classes by ensuring the physical presence of the students of the final year MBBS from 29.06.2020 and 1st-year students from 13.07.2020. In respect of the 1st year students, the impugned order states that the 1st professional examination is due to be held in August/September 2020 and since so far teaching was continuing by online mode, therefore, practical classes could not be held."
The Allahabad High Court has scheduled July 10 for the hearing on this petition. Meanwhile, students are also complaining that some colleges have notified on the website that there will be no offline classes but they were conducting classes.
Why MBBS students are demanding cancellation of class and exams?
Dr Rajnish Raj, State President of Indian Medical Association, Medical Students' Network, UP, told Indiatvnews.com: "As per the Uttar Pradesh govt's order, the medical colleges are reopening and the students are being asked to give exams. For the last four months, there were no classes. MBBS is one of the longest and noble course. It takes 5.5 years for a person to become a doctor. Because of the lockdown, we had to leave quickly and we don't have books or notes. It's impossible to teach MBBS course online."
"Students can be promoted without exams now. Later on, we have our NEXT exams. We can be evaluated then," Rajnish Raj says. Some of the students, Indiatvnews.com spoke to, pointed out how internet speed was trouble and posing a challenge.
"We don't live in metropolitan cities like Mumbai to have high-speed internet facility," a student [name with held] said. "There's a lot of uncertainty and anxiety among medical students regarding exam dates. We request MCI and UGC to please cancel our exams because one exam can't decide our practical skills," another student said.
"Coronavirus cases are at peak and it will put our lives at risk. We are not prepared mentally to go to college. In college hostels, there's a lot of commonplaces. Be it canteen or washroom, we will have to take the risk. Social distancing will not be possible in the classroom or even during practicals," a student said requesting anonymity.
Few students also raised issues of commutation if exams/practicals do take place. "Students come from different parts of the country. Travelling would also put us at risk. Even rail services are stopped by the government until August 12. All conditions are against us. Are exams more important than our lives .we are not backing from giving exams but not in these conditions? Neither we are mentally prepared nor we are willing to risk our lives. We have been trying our level best so that govt listens to our problems," a student said.
Similar issues were bothering DNB students
Diplomate of National Board (DNB) qualification is an equivalent degree to MD/MS in broad speciality as well as to DM/Mch in the super speciality. The National Board of Examination is an independent body working on the principles of MCI. However, the exit exam is totally different.
"It's naturally expected that for a 3-year course, the exam should be over before tenure gets over, but NBE conducts exam almost 2 months late. Also, as opposed to MD/MS/DM/Mch where theory and practice are considered together, NBE conducts theory exam first, only theory qualified candidates can give practicals. Moreover, a practical exam is conducted in a different state than a candidate's institute. This year, candidates have given theory exam in December and qualified for practicals, their thesis has got accepted. Now, in this pandemic, to conduct the exam in different states is out of the question because all hospitals are teeming with COVID patients, travelling to different states has a hell lot of restrictions, accommodation is difficult considering hotels are not fully functional and there is a high risk of transmission of the coronavirus," said Dr Ruchil*, who is doing DNB gastroenterology. The matter is in court as DNB students are demanding exemption from practical exams.
Indiatvnews.com tried to contact the MCI official but didn't receive any response so far. We will update the copy as and when we receive a response.
*Name Changed on request