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India’s most respected medical colleges

EducationWorld May 14 | Education World

Against a backdrop of uncertainty and confusion in medical education which has raised misgivings about the quality of graduates certified by India™s 355 medical colleges, 439 sample respondents have voted for stability in the 2014 league table
“PHYSICIAN HEAL THYSELF! This is an imperative India™s medical profession needs to urgently heed. Because the country™s medical system is in a near-terminal state and requires strong medicine to resuscitate it.
For a start, despite its subcontinental size and population of 1.2 billion, India is served by only 355 colleges of allopathic medicine which certify 41,469 MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) graduates and 22,000 postgraduates (MDs) annually. That this seemingly impressive number of medical practitioners qualified to practice modern (allopathy) medicine is grossly inadequate is testified by India™s rock-bottom doctor-patient ratio of 1:1,700. Against this, the doctor-patient ratio in the US is 1:407, 1:357 in the UK and 1:714 in China. Yet despite the country™s abysmally adverse doctor-patient ratio, India is perhaps the world™s largest exporter of qualified medical practitioners. But for the number of medical practitioners from India serving in them, it™s quite likely the publicly-funded National Health Service of the UK and perhaps even the healthcare system in the US would collapse. Clearly, something is very wrong with medical education, medical practice and the medical system in India.
One of the major causative factors behind the continuous flight of doctors to foreign climes is poor governance of medical education and practice by the apex level Medical Council of India (MCI, estb. 1934). For the past 80 years through myriad rules and regulations and an opaque licencing system, MCI has severely constrained capacity expansion in medical education with the council acquiring a notorious reputation for corruption and graft even as successive governments at the Centre and in the states discouraged education entrepreneurs from creating new capacity by decreeing forced subsidies and reserved quotas in private medical colleges.
Unchecked corruption in medical education reached its apogee in the new millennium. A rash of scandals in MCI during the infamous ten-year (2001-10) reign of chairman Ketan Desai (finally arrested in 2010 on charges of corruption) severely dented the quality of medical education, forcing the Central government to dissolve the council in 2010.
Subsequent to disbandment of MCI, the Union health ministry constituted a six-member interim Board of Governors with a one-year term, and last November the UPA-II government reconstituted MCI with 68 (of the total 130) members elected/nominated by various states and universities through the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2013. However several state universities have yet to propose members for the newly constituted MCI which will have a term of four years.
Against this backdrop of uncertainty and confusion in medical education which has raised misgivings about the quality and competence of the 41,000 MBBS graduates certified annually by India™s 355 medical colleges, it™s unsurprising that the 439 informed sample respondents have voted for stability in the second EducationWorld India Medical Colleges Rankings 2014. As in 2013, survey respondents have awarded the Top 10 positions in the league table of India™s best medical colleges to well-established brand names in medical education.
The premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi has been reaffirmed as India™s #1 medical college followed by Christian Medical College, Vellore (2); Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune (3); JIPMER, Puducherry (4); Kasturba Medical College, Manipal (5) and Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi (6). Further down the table, though there™s been a minor rearranging of seats with Grant Medical College, Mumbai pushed down to #7 from #6 in 2013 while Seth G.S. Medical College, Mumbai has moved up to #8 from #9, followed by St. John™s Medical College, Bangalore (9) and King George™s Medical University, Lucknow (10), by and large the status quo has been maintained.
To rate and rank the country™s most respected medical colleges, the Delhi-based market research and opinion polls company Centre for Forecasting and Research Pvt. Ltd (C fore, estb. 2000) was commissioned to interview 439 faculty and final year students of medical colleges countrywide. œThe rankings are based on a perceptual survey conducted among 205 faculty and 234 final year students of medical colleges across the country. Respondents were asked to rate med colleges on a ten point scale across six parameters including faculty competence, faculty welfare, research and innovation, pedagogic systems, placements and infrastructure and support systems. The ratings under each parameter were totaled to rank the country™s top 30 medical colleges, says Premchand Palety, promoter chief executive of C fore which conducts market research and opinion polls for the Hindustan Times and CNBC, TV 18 among other media corporates, as also for several political parties.
THAT THE KNOWLEDGEABLE 439 respondents have awarded the #1 rank yet again to the superbly equipped and massively subsidised AIIMS, comes as no surprise. India™s showpiece Central government funded medical institution, AIIMS (estb.1956) delivers qualitative undergrad and postgraduate education in medicine, nursing and allied health fields at rock-bottom prices; serves as a state-of-the-art referral hospital for affordable medical and surgical care; and conducts advanced research in health and biological sciences.
On average, 540 graduate and 890 postgraduate medical practitioners emerge from AIIMS™ portals annually. The institute has an established reputation in the field of medical research and publishes an estimated 1,220 papers annually. Little wonder AIIMS is ranked #1 on all six parameters of excellence. But this excellence is purchased at a heavy price ” a huge Rs.1,022 crore annual grant from the Central government exchequer. AIIMS students are required to pay a mere Rs.850 per year for tuition, room and board against the actual expenditure of Rs.1.7 crore to produce an MBBS graduate. Ironically 53 percent of AIIMS graduates leave to study abroad and never return.
œOur thanks to the survey respondents for once again voting AIIMS India™s #1 medical college. The mandate of AIIMS is not only to provide affordable medical care, but also lead medical education and research in the country. Through the years AIIMS has fulfilled this objective by becoming a role model for other medical schools countrywide. We don™t believe in didactic teaching and spoonfeeding undergrads and postgrads. From day one, freedom of thinking, scientific questioning and practical learning are encouraged. We believe that medical education is a mix of science and arts, and hence our students are taught to also look at the human angle of suffering. That™s what differentiates an AIIMS graduate, says Dr. Amit Gupta, additional professor of surgery and spokesperson of AIIMS.
While the showpiece AIIMS, Delhi towers over all other medical colleges in the latest EW league table, the private sector Christian Medical College, Vellore and the Union ministry of defence-funded AFMC, Pune are next ranked in that order. Founded in 1948 by an Act of Parliament with the objective of providing a œsteady intake of medical officers for the Indian Armed Forces, AFMC provides undergraduate, postgraduate, dental, nursing and para medical training to 2,790 students instructed by a full-time faculty of 159. According to an AFMC spokesperson, currently its faculty and students are engaged in over 45 Indian Council of Medical Research projects and 96 research projects in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
œOur ranking among the Top 3 medical colleges of the country is acknowledgement of the excellence  AFMC stands for and the values we cherish, says Major General Velu Nair, dean and deputy commandant. œThis one-of-its-type institution now has over 6,200 alumni around the world with many of them having risen to positions of great eminence, and many have made heroic sacrifices for the nation. Himself an alumnus of AFMC, Pune; CMC, Vellore, and King™s College and Hospital, London, Nair is also a visiting professor at Stanford University, USA.
Ranked #4 in the league table of India™s Top 30 medical colleges is another Central government-funded institution, JIPMER, Puducherry (estb. 1956) followed by Kasturba Medical College, Manipal ” post-independence India™s first private sector medical college (estb. 1953) ” at #5, and Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi (estb. 1956) at #6. Previously ranked #6, Grant Medical College, Mumbai is ranked #7 this year while the Seth G.S. Medical College, Mumbai has improved its ranking to #8 all-India (and #3 in Maharashtra) in 2014.
ESTABLISHED IN 1926, Seth G.S. Medical College (SGSMC) is a state government-funded institution offering undergrad, postgrad and superspecialty courses in over 35 disciplines to 2,000 students. The college campus also hosts the 1,800-bed KEM hospital. œAlthough it feels good to know that peers have acknowledged our continuing efforts to improve the quality of medical education, I believe SGSMC deserves to be ranked in the Top 5, given our pedagogy innovations and the wide range of multispecialty courses we offer. SGSMC attracts the brightest and best students and our experienced faculty is innovative and research-focused. Moreover its the only med school in the country which has introduced a course in paediatric anaesthesia, and is also a nodal centre for advanced medicine, says Dr. Shubangi Parkar, dean of Seth G.S. Medical College, Mumbai.
While the status quo has been broadly maintained in the Top 10 league table of the EW India Medical Colleges Rankings 2014, further down there™s been a reshuffle of seats in the Top 20 table. B.J. Medical College, Pune, ranked #16 last year, has risen dramatically in public esteem to be ranked #12, while the Vardhman Mahavir Medical College (VMMC), Delhi has leapfrogged from #22 in 2013 to #15 in 2014 as has Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi ” the only all-women med school in the country ” from #27 to #20.
Housed within the premises of Safdarjung Hospital in the national capital, VMMC was established in 2001 by the then NDA government. Since then, the capacity of this 12-year-old Central government-funded medical college has grown to 1,100 students instructed by 254 faculty. œAs confirmed by your survey, during the past decade VMMC has made rapid strides to emerge as one of the leading medical colleges in the country attracting students from across India. The calibre of our qualified and experienced faculty is reflected in excellent exam results at the undergrad and postgraduate levels, as also in the high number of papers published in research journals. VMMC students also routinely win 12-15 prestigious Indian Council of Medical Research summer scholarships every year. We are pleased that our efforts and achievements are being recognised, says Dr. Jayashree Bhattacharjee, principal of VMMC & Safdarjung Hospital.
Further down the table too, there™s been a churn with the debut of several previously unranked medical colleges. Among them are the Kolkata-based NRS Medical College and Hospital (#21) and Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (22); the Pandit Bhagwan Dayal Sharma Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak (23); University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi (28); Government Medical College, Chandigarh (29) and Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar (30).
To read India™s best  medical colleges 2014 visit
With Autar Nehru & Garima Upadhyay (Delhi) & Sunayana Nair (Mumbai)

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