Interview

“We need to remove commercialisation of education” : Dr James Pandian, Dean – SRM University, India

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In conversation with Shally Makin, Dr James Pandian, Dean, SRM University, one of the premier institutions since 25 years, shares his insights about medical training system which deserves a better infrastructure in order to improve quality of healthcare in the country

What is the present medical education scenario in India?

I believe the condition of medical education is not up to the mark. The teacher student ratio in every college is imbalanced. On the other hand the clinical material is not standardised properly in some of the medical colleges. The major factors for the failure of medical colleges are the location, lack of interest in faculty and the sudden emergence of corporate hospitals and government sponsored programs. The condition of medical education is down, even though the modalities and training are being carried in some institutions but they need to be improved and standardised.

What are the loopholes faced by the medical education system? How can they be removed?

The medical education system in India needs to be revamped. With the initiatives of government of India and Medical council of India the system should be reviewed thoroughly into the quality of education keeping in mind the morality of teaching, efficiency, past experience, administration. The country is well equipped with technology and facilities and has produced world class doctors. Today, the faculty needs to be dedicated and experienced to produce well qualified doctors and retain talent. The system needs extra attention to produce quality and improved infrastructure.

What are the various facilities provided by your college that contribute in giving a better overall medical training?

Our centre is one of the finest in the nation. We are also training people from other institutes. Our University is very well accredited from MCI. In our university, there are many other departments including biochemistry, biotechnology, and many other which use various technologies and high end medical techniques to train students that further help the MBBS students to learn different techniques in one single campus only.

As of now, there is a serious dearth of good doctors and healthcare facilities in rural areas of the country. What according to you needs to be done to bridge this rural-urban healthcare divide?

In the leadership of Professor Sarin of MCI, the board wanted a specific course for a short duration after MBBS to become a specialist in rural areas. The course offered an internship in the rural areas during the last semester of the Post Graduation course. I strongly believe that this course would bridge the gap between the rural and urban healthcare facilities and will encourage other students in the area to pursue medicine and help in improving health. The system needs to be streamlined to provide better healthcare facilities in the rural areas. This way we can minimise the heavy rush in corporate hospitals and concentrate on rural problems. We really require focus at the rural level.

In order to strengthen the medical training sytsem what measures need to be taken?

We need to gradually remove loopholes and increase our standards in order to combat such a challenge. We need to limit the number of accreditations being provided to the medical colleges without proper audits or checks. We also need to look into the medical infrastructure and see that the faculty imparts quality education as well as high-class practical training. Gradually, we need to look into the intricacies of the system to remove corruption and commercialization of education. 

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