Boost for Indian medical students as Philippines tweaks norms | India News

MUMBAI: Indian students in the Philippines have got a boost as the country has approved a legislative change, allowing international medical graduates to obtain licences and practice locally. The move also benefits those aiming to practice as doctors in India as it aligns with National Medical Council‘s rule that mandates possessing a valid practicing licence to appear in the Indian screening test upon return from studying abroad.
The move aligns with actions taken by several other nations that attract Indian students seeking medical education abroad. Following NMC’s 2021 amendment, which stipulated that individuals pursuing medical degrees overseas would be allowed to appear for the Indian screening test upon their return only if they possess a valid practicing licence from the country where they completed their studies, countries such as Russia, Belarus, and Georgia have adopted similar stances.
In 2023, NMC de-recognised Bachelor of Science course in Philippines. It only allowed candidates from their four-year MD programme, which was considered equivalent to India’s MBBS course. However, as it fell short of NMC’s stipulated requirement of 54 months, candidates needed to complete a year of internship to make up for it before taking the screening test to practice as doctors in India.
Kadwin Pillai, a foreign education agent, said all concerns are now a thing of the past. “The duration of UG medical course in Philippines has been amended and aligns with the NMC requirement. This amendment to allow foreign medical students studying in Philippines to practice medicine either locally or internationally will greatly benefit our students and strengthen Philippines’s position as a leading destination for medical education in Asia-Pacific,” he added. Around 2,000-odd Indian students fly to Philippines for their UG medical education each year.
This year, a record 24 lakh students appeared for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (UG). Foreign education agents estimate that after local admissions close, around 5 lakh Indian candidates will pursue medicine abroad. On average, these students spend Rs 40 lakh on their education.
Dr Umesh Gurjar, a foreign education consultant, expressed concern about the outflow of Indian currency and the existence of foreign medical institutes that do not follow norms stipulated by NMC, resulting in a lack of real education. “That is not just a significant outflow of Indian currency, but in many places, there is no real education taking place, thus wasting careers of thousands of Indian students,” he said, urging embassies of India in those countries to issue advisories on the state of medical colleges there.

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