Foreign Medical Graduates fail to clear Screening test: Debate

Every year a majority of foreign medical graduates fail to pass the FMGE exam conducted by NBE. The latest NEWS published in major Indian newspapers proves that. This is not a new picture. Its there since the inception of this exam. What may be the reason of such low result of he exam. Are the students going outside India are not as hardworking or the exam has flaws which is causing these students to suffer. We took opinion of around 100 Indian medical graduates and foreign medical graduates, and posted the summary of whole discussion as Argument and Counter Argument at the end of the post. If you have your opinion regarding this issue, please join in the debate by commenting.


debate on foreign medical graduates

NEW DELHI: An average 77 per cent Indian students who returned with a foreign medical degree in the past 12 years failed to clear the mandatory screening examination conducted by Medical Council of India.

Any citizen possessing a primary medical qualification awarded by any medical institution outside the country who wants provisional or permanent registration with MCI or any state medical council needs to qualify the screening test (known as Foreign Medical Graduates Examination) conducted by the MCI through the National Board of Examinations (NBE).

In a year-by-year break-up of the number of students who sat for the screening exam, data provided by NBE under RTI Act shows that since 2004, the number of instances of successful candidates crossing 50 per cent of the total who appeared was two, while in one particular instance, only 4 per cent students passed the test.

The highest percentage of 76.8 successful candidates was registered way back in September 2005 when 2,851 students appeared for the test and 2,192 passed it.

In March 2008, 58.7 per cent candidates were able to clear the screening with 1,087 out of 1,851 candidates clearing it.

The last two sessions of the screening exam in 2015, however, saw only 10.4 per cent and 11.4 per cent candidates clearing the test.

In June last year, 5,967 candidates appeared for the exam of whom only 603 cleared it while in December, 6,407 candidates took the screening test and only 731 passed.

In most of the sessions over the past 12 years, the percentage of pass candidates hovered in the twenties with only 282 out of 5,724 (4 per cent) clearing the exam in June 2014, according to the data provided to PTI by the examination conducting body.

The FMGE consists of one paper, comprising 300 multiple choice, single correct response questions in English language only, delivered in two parts, of 150 minutes each, to be taken in a single day.

The examination is a multiple choice questions test delivered using computer network with no negative marking. To qualify for the examination, a candidate is required to score at least 150 out of 300 marks.

According to another data, between 2012 and 2015, MCI said it issued 5,583 “eligibility certificates” to Indian citizens intending to acquire “Primary Medical Qualification” (MBBS or its equivalent) from any country outside India.

A Parliamentary Committee report earlier this month observed that “despite having the most number of medical colleges in the world, and currently having approximately 9.29 lakh doctors enrolled on the Indian Medical Register, India is way behind in achieving the targeted doctor-population ratio of 1:1000 as per WHO norms”.

The Rajya Sabha Committee on Health and Family Welfare, in a report presented on March 8, noted, among others, the reason for the “failure of the current system to produce doctors, including specialists and super specialists in adequate numbers and of requisite quality and poor regulation of Undergraduate (UG) and Postgraduate (PG) education”.

Notably, the NBE had in 2002 started conducting the screening examination of foreign medical graduates.

Prior to that, there was no such screening of FMGs.

The Committee also observed that many young students who aspire for medical education but do not get an opportunity in India, go for medical education in countries like Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and China and when they come back they are given due recognition by MCI only after they clear the screening test followed by a one year internship to qualify as “eligible doctor” in India.

“The Committee is giving this example to buttress the argument that Minimum Standard Requirements (MSR) should not become a fixation by which MCI strangles the scope for scale-up of medical education, even as it blithely ignores the irrelevance of those standards for the foreign medical graduates who train in institutions which may markedly deviate from them,” the report stated.

“Taking all the above facts into account, the Committee is of the considered view that the existing MSRs as mandated by the MCI are irrational and artificially rigid standards which are proving to be a big impediment to the establishment and expansion of medical colleges,” the report added.



Argument Counter Argument
What is the need of the FMGE test at all? The students are studied in Govt. approved Medical colleges of the respective countries and Indian Govt. also approves those colleges as education centers outside India. The doctors produced are fully qualified after getting degrees and should be allowed to practice directly in India. Medical education and medical system and even diseases etc are different in different countries, so training in a particular country may not be sufficient in other country. there is no question of qualified or not here. Secondly almost all countries have licencing exams for foreign doctors to practice like USMLE, AMC, PLAB etc. So its not wrong to test and train (in form of 1 year internship) foreign graduates before they can practice in India.
The standard of FMGE parer is extra ordinary tough, and no student is expected to secure 50% marks in that test. The test is designed by NBE for the purpose of failing students. NBE need to set easy paper so that the result can be improved. Since 2012 both FMGE and AIPGMEE papers are set by NBE in similar pattern and similar level. After discussion with many students who took both the exams it is deduced that the difficulty level is almost same. And after analysis of total number of students securing 50% or more in AIPG, the ratio of Indian Graduates : Foreign Graduates is surprising.
The standard of foreign medical colleges is much more superior than Indian medical colleges, so Indian medical graduates should also the made to take screening exam before getting registration by medical council. Medical education in India is also of International standards. The provision of awarding licence to Indian medical graduates is there because the colleges are inspected by MCI and appropriate approval is given to those colleges. But with increase in deemed universities and private colleges, a screening test for students passing from private medical universities can be made.
Looking at the shortage of doctors in India, it is necessary that all foreign medical graduates should be given registration of medical council without any screening exam. This way India will get more doctors and people in villages will be served better. Shortage of doctors does not mean that proper standards of medical education and training should not be followed. Compromising on quality for the sake of shortage is not a good idea. Secondly it is not necessary that foreign graduates will serve in rural India for sure. As per the stats the number of doctors with foreign degrees are more in private hospitals of Delhi NCR as compared to Indian graduates.


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it looks like, the foreign medical education is not at par with Indian medical education, that is why many students fail and they put the blame on system. it is human tendency to put blame on others.