THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A poor pass percentage in the first year MBBS examination has left students and teachers in government and private medical colleges baffled. When the results were out last week, a few colleges managed a pass percentage of 70% while some plunged to as low as 32-34%. The Thiruvananthapuram Medical College bagged 75% pass, one of the highest among government colleges. Some private institutions like the Al-Azhar Medical College, Kumaramangalam, Mount Zion Medical College, Adoor, and the PK Das Institute of Medical Sciences, Palakkad recorded dismal results.
Virtual classes due to Covid and an inadequate staff strength to provide personal attention to students have been pointed out as the main reasons. Adding to that, most non-clinical doctors from the wings of anatomy, physiology and biochemistry (first year MBBS subjects) were called up for Covid duty. Many colleges were running the show with minimal first year teachers, said a source.
“Last year, classes were mainly held online. It’s impossible to learn subjects like anatomy virtually. In states like Tamil Nadu, offline classes started for medical courses after three months,” she pointed out. Recently, the seats in Thiruvananthapuram Medical College increased to 250.
“It’s impossible to teach 250 students,” the source added. The results in government colleges have left even teachers wondering what went wrong. Tough valuation could be one reason, felt one teacher. “These are students who achieved high marks in NEET. It seems the authorities have not considered the fact that students haven’t received adequate classes. According to the university’s new rule, those students making more than four attempts will go out of the course. On top of that, they have no revaluation,” said a senior teacher.
A senior official with another government collage said though there are multiple factors like virtual classes and syllabus revision, the primary issue is an acute shortage of teachers. “In future, it will reflect in the clinical fields too. It will have far-reaching consequences in the state’s medical field,” he said, blaming the government.
Government medical colleges face acute shortage of senior doctors, like professors and associate professors, the official said. “While medical college hospitals have been set up, no adequate staff pattern was devised. There’s always a 25 to 50% staff shortage. We are forced to send first year and second year PG students to teach these students,” he pointed out.
With the SAY examination scheduled for May 11, the students who failed to make it are a worried lot. “Many were unable to attend classes due to Covid. Many were down with Covid. Exam dates too were not extended. Those who failed are under tremendous pressure to avoid a backlog,” said Niranjana Sudheesh, first year students’ representative at the Kozhikode Medical College.
Meanwhile, officials with the Kerala University of Health Sciences rejected statements on poor pass percentage.
“Many colleges have recorded a pass percentage above 50. The dip in total percentage is due to the low pass percentage in three private medical colleges. Subject wise, the pass percentage has been above 70 for all three subjects. The students can anyway improve results through the SAY examination,” said Dr Anil Kumar, Controller of Examinations, KUHS.