Final year Medical exams in Maharashtra in a muddle

University terms exam schedule tentative, asks students to avoid travel, stay put till further orders

Mumbai: The Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) on June 23 declared that time table of final year under graduate (UG) medical students scheduled for July 16, is termed as tentative. In a circular, the MUHS asked students to not start travelling to their exam centers and stay put safely till further orders.

Students have also been asked to check the university and college website for regular updates. Exams for final year students of UG courses of  MBBS (Allopathy), Homeopathy, Unani, Ayurvedic, Dental Sciences, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Bachelor of Science (Nursing), Bachelor of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology have been scheduled from July 16 next month is now under a cloud owing to the rising uncertainty due to unceasing effect of Covid-19 pandemic.

The Post-Graduate courses have already been postponed following intervention by the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), who sought relief from exams or their extension as they were tied up with handling the pandemic duty at Covid hospitals.

Speaking to thenews21.com, controller of examination of MUHS, Dr Ajit Pathak stated that the final year exams were being conducted on the request of student bodies and as per directions of the apex bodies governing various courses. “These are professional courses governed by various apex  councils like the Medical Council of India (MCI), Dental Council of India, Central Council of Homeopathy, Indian Nursing Council and  Rehabilitation Council of India.

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None of these councils have allowed cancellation of exams. Also, students want final year exams to be conducted since it would help them get on with their mandatory one-year internship period to be eligible to get their degree.” Various associations like the Medical Students Welfare Association (MSWA) had sought promotion of students after cancellation of all medical college exams.

The MSWA stated that with hostels and college mess closed, many students couldn’t return to their colleges. It also stated that since lockdown happened suddenly, the study material of most students were left locked at their hostels, while they were stuck at their rural hometowns, where internet connectivity was not reliable. A large percentage of medical students study at colleges away from homes and are dependent on hostels. These do not include 20% students from Maharashtra, who live in other states. 

However, Dr Pathak stated that the option of promoting students was not as simple as it sounds. “We have to consider various aspects like the value of the such degree obtained. If Maharashtra were to promote students, and other states conduct exams, than what would be the value of the degree of students from Maharashtra? Will such promoted degrees be approved by the foreign universities?”

The MUHS is also planning to conduct exams of first, second and third year medical UG courses in a phased manner by following all precautions like physical distancing, sanitation. Students are also given option to appear for exams in centers near their home towns.” A senior medical official asked: “if aspiring doctor’s panic from disease outbreaks, how will they function as doctors? If students are scared, they should opt out and instead give exams in next Semester. Also, this time table schedule was declared in November, 2019 and Covid stuck only in March. Have not they prepared for exams since then?” 

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