The annual intake of all medical colleges in India is just over 50,000 while the annual intake of engineering colleges is more than 50 times that number. Lack of sufficient number of medical colleges leading to stiff competition for Medical seats has given rise to an increasing trend of Indian students going abroad for their medical education. While some countries do provide standard medical education, most countries chosen by Indian students do not maintain similar standards. That is one reason why only 19% of them pass the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE), a prerequisite to start medical practice in India.
Indian Graduates with Foreign Medical Degrees – What does the law say?
Indian students can seek medical qualification from any recognized medical education institution in a foreign country. But such students are required to register with a State Medical Council (SMC) in order to practice in India after obtaining their degree.
SMC can register a student with foreign medical qualification only after he appears and passes in the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) conducted by the National Board of Examination (NBE). The FMGE is conducted twice a year and a student has to score a minimum of 50% marks to be declared passed.
This is a statutory requirement as per section 13(4A) of the IMC Act, 1956 amended in 2002. Students who hold an under graduate as well as post graduate medical degree from the following countries need not take the FMGE and they can directly be registered by the SMC.
How many students pass the Screening Test (FMGE)?
As per the data available with the government, only about 19% students who appeared for the screening test passed from 2012-13 to 2015-16 (till June session).
Close to 14000 students appeared for the FMGE in 2012-13. This number reduced to less than half (6395) in 2013-14. The number went up substantially in 2014-15 (12494). Even in 2015-16, the number of students who appeared for the FMGE is close to 6000 in just one session.
The pass percentage in the FMGE has declined continuously from 2012-13. While 28.3% students passed in 2012-13, this went down to 16.7% in 2013-14. The pass percentage further reduced to 13.1% in 2014-15, while the pass percentage was just 10.4% in 2015-16 (only one session).
Country wise numbers of the Screening test takers
The data on the number of Indian students who go abroad for medical education is not maintained by the government. But, the number of Indian students who take the FMGE with medical education from different countries does give us a fair idea of who goes where. The list of countries is dominated by China as expected. Close to 12000 Indian students with medical degree from China took the FMGE from 2012 to 2014. Russia is second with 5950 students appearing for FMGE. Ukraine is 3rd with 3520 students followed by Nepal with 3163 students. More than 100 students with medical degrees from each of the 15 different countries took the FMGE from 2012 to 2014.
Students with Medical Degree from Bangladesh perform the best
Of those countries with more than 100 Indian students, students with their medical degree from Bangladesh performed the best with a pass percentage of 30.8 followed by Georgia (25.5%), Philippines (24.6%) and Nepal (21.2%). Though China & Russia have the highest number of Indian students, only 18.9% students with a degree from China passed the FMGE, while 18.4% students with a degree from Russia passed.
Foreign Medical Education Standards
The pass percentage of 19% is indicative of poor standards of medical education in some of these countries. Students are often lured by lower fee and a guaranteed seat. The government on its part has issued certainguidelines, but the number of students pursuing medical education abroad hasn’t gone down.