IGNOU memorises the annual death anniversary of its Founder Vice-Chancellor, the legendary late Prof G Ram Reddy, by the annual memorial lectures instituted in 1996 following the sudden death of Prof Reddy on July 2, 1995, reports Sangita Ghosh De of eHEALTH.
There is an urgent need to constitute an autonomous body set up by an Act of Parliament with the twin objectives of promoting and regulating medical education at all levels, was the key point of observation by Prof MS Valiathan, a reputed cardiac surgeon and winner of the Padma Vibhushan, while he was speaking on the topic, ‘Medical Education in the melting Pot’ at the 15th Prof G Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture at the Indira Gandhi National Open University(IGNOU) on July 2, 2010.
The Lecture was presided over the Indira Gandhi National Open University Vice Chancelor Professor VN Rajasekharan Pillai. It was telecast live on Gyan Darshan and the live webcast was also made available on the IGNOU website. IGNOU’s Prof G Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture series was instituted in 1996 in the memory of Prof G Ram Reddy, IGNOU’s founder Vice Chancellor. The former speakers have been Dr RA Mashelkar, Dr G Madhava Nair, Prof Yashpal and other eminent personalities. The 14th memorial lecture of Prof G Ram Reddy in 2009 was delivered by Shri Kiran Karnik, former President, NASSCOM.
Prof G Ram Reddy was the founder Vice-Chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University from the year of 1985 to 1989 and was a distinguished scholar of Political Science and Public Administration. Educated at London School of Economics, Prof Reddy was convinced of the importance of universal access to higher education in achieving economic development. Besides IGNOU, he established, shaped and nurtured many institutions of higher learning, including two Open Universities, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council in India, and the Commonwealth of Learning, Vacouver, Canada.
He also held many important positions in the academic world, as the Vice- Chancellor of Osmania University for two terms, the founder Vice-Chancellor of Andhra Pradesh Open University and Indira Gandhi National Open University, Vice-President of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Chairman of the University Grants Commission. At the time of his death he was the Chairman of Indian Council of Social Science Research. The COL-International Council of Distance Education (ICDE) Award for Excellence conferred on him is an eloquent testimony to the international recognition of his vision and contributions.
The programme began with a welcome note on behalf of the IGNOU fraternity, welcomed Smt G Pramila Ram Reddy, wife of late Prof G Ram Reddy and Prof MS Valiathan, Prof V N Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor, IGNOU and the present distinguished guests to the memorial lecture evening. The evening was marked with the lighting of lamp by G Pramila Ram Reddy, Prof Valiathan, Prof V N Rajasekharan Pillai, and Prof Sinclair respectively.
“At the Government level, discussions are in progress to set up a National Body by an Act of Parliament, which would preside over the promotive and regulatory aspects of medical education,” said Prof Valiathan, at the 15th Prof G Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture at the Indira Gandhi National Open University(IGNOU). He was speaking on the topic, ‘Medical Education in the melting Pot’.
According to him, National Commission on Medical Education (NCME) should be an autonomous body set up by an Act of Parliament with the twin objectives of promoting and regulating medical education at all levels. Its power should be similar to those of the National Commission on Higher Education as proposed in a Bill being considered by the Parliament and should be headed by an eminent medical educationist whose contributions as an academician, investigator, and administrator who possess a national recognition. NCME should have 8-10 active members who represent biological sciences, pre/para/ and clinical sciences of medicine, public health, sociology and technology, put up Prof Valiathan in his lecture.
He further stressed that for making the best possible nominations, the Government should ask for panels of experts in these disciplines from the National Academies of Science, Medicine, Engineering and ICSSR, who should be taken into confidence on the importance of NCME, its role in shaping medical education, and in due course, standards of health care and quality of medical research in India. Further to that, Prof Valiathan enumerated the reasons for the neglect of Medical education and the poor quality of medical education in the country, ” MCI, which was as much a promotive as a regulatory body, failed to bring about any important innovation in medical education which was beset with a host of problems in India”.
Educated at London School of Economics, Prof G Ram Reddy was a distinguished scholar of Political Science and Public Administration. Prof Reddy was convinced of the importance of universal access to higher education.
Speaking on the major challenges for medical education, Prof Valiathan said that the progressive isolation or insularisation which is happening in Medicine, has many drastic consequences. Even a physician whose education is so narrowly specialised that he is unable to discuss a medical problem with a chemist, physicist, biologist, engineer, or even a historian in an intelligible manner can hardly hope to be creative or innovative. Those who frame the curriculum and training programmes of medical students should make them aware that medicine is a part of man’s civilisational heritage and no more than a segment of the domain of knowledge which a University represents, opined Prof Valiathan.
The eminent Professor further elucidated on the subject of the neglect of public health in medical education and health care delivery and its consequences. He stressed on the urgent need for medical students to be taught degree of familiarity with these topics which represent the advancing frontiers of medicine, like genetic engineering and technology of electronics, computer science, materials science, and other engineering sciences.
According to him, the toughest challenge for a medical educationist is how much science, how much technology, how much economics and sociology, and how much ethics should be written into undergraduate education without weakening the clinical skills and attitude of a physician in training. Prof Valiathan made it absolutely clear that any policy on these issues must be dynamic and responsive to change because the only constant characteristic of science and technology is continuously going through rapid change.