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No Brake or Break in MBBS ? MGR University to conduct supplementary exams to enable students join main batch

No Brake or Break  in MBBS ? MGR University to conduct supplementary exams to enable students join main batch

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No Brake or Break  in MBBS ? MGR University to conduct supplementary exams to enable students join main batch

No Brake or Break in MBBS ? MGR University to conduct supplementary exams to enable students join main batch

The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University may have just found a way to get around the ‘break system’ for first year MBBS students.

MBBS education in this country has always gone by the break system, wherein first year students cannot move to the next unless they clear all the papers. If a student fails even one paper, he would have to attend the classes for the first year again and can only move on to the second year after he has cleared all the papers, thus facing a ‘break’ in his collegiate education.

Obviously, this was hugely unpopular with students and matters came to a deadend last year, with government college students taking to the streets against the system.

An extra supplementary exam : 

The varsity’s Governing Council, considering the request from students, resolved, on Saturday, that first year students who have failed one paper can take the supplementary exam within 15 days from when the results were out. The solution, it turns out, is simply to conduct an extra supplementary exam; this one soon after the results are out in September.

“We wrote to the Medical Council of India to do away with the break system, but they categorically refused. So we made a decision to do something to help students, and in a way that would not go against the MCI’s position,” V. Shantaram, Vice Chancellor of the medical university told The Hindu.

Earlier, the first year exam would be in August and the supplementary, in February and students lost precious months before they could even take the supplementary exam and make an attempt to pass the papers they have failed.

“This was something we could change. So, the Council decided that instead of conducting the supplementary exam in February, it can be held soon after announcement of results: within 15 days,” Dr. Shantaram explained.

This way, the students have an opportunity to clear the arrears and join the next year within a short while of commencement of course.

There was a representation last year to the varsity that over 100 students performing well otherwise who had failed in one subject in the first year of the MBBS course.

“Because of a few marks they lose about six months, so this extra supplementary exam which we will hold in September will help them come up to speed on the course, provided they pass,” he added.

Concessions have been made for students who are adjusting to the rigours of MBBS and rural students who are in the city for the first time.

Failing in many papers :

However, this is not available for students who have failed in more than one subject. “Students who have failed in more than one subject cannot take the September supplementary exam. They will have to take the usual supplementary exam conducted in February and be part of the break system,” Dr. Shantaram further explained.

Attendance :

Also, he added, “We have reduced the mandatory attendance to 85 per cent, from 90 per cent earlier, so students who join the second year course later will manage enough attendance to take the exam”. The MCI norm for attendance is 75 per cent. Kavin Kumar, co-ordinator, Tamil Nadu Medical Students Association, says that it certainly is a welcome move that will bring relief to first year students. However, on behalf of the organisation, he continued to request the university to allow all first year students who have failed (not just those who have failed in one subject) to take the supplementary exam in September.

The above report is from http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/university-puts-the-brakes-on-mbbs-break-system/article4819179.ece

This is a follow up to http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/break-system-the-bane-of-medicos/article4740337.ece

For many students of medicine and dentistry, what was once their dream course soon turns into a nightmare because of one aspect of the system — the compulsory ‘break’.

Under the ‘break system’, students who fail in the first year of MBBS and BDS, cannot attend second-year classes and are forced to take a break of six months, before re-taking their exams. This is often a waste of time, said students, and leads to a lag in their progress.

Worst-affected are students of private medical colleges as they have to pay additional fees — at least half of the annual fees — for the break period.

“Once we fail in the first year, we form a separate batch. No importance is given to this batch. Many of the students are extremely depressed, as this is usually the first time they have failed,” said P. Soundar, a student of a government medical college in the city.

“We have requested Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University to suspend the break system but the authorities say that as per Medical Council of India (MCI) norms, students cannot move to para-clinical courses in the second year, unless they clear the pre-clinical courses in first year,” he added.

While in some colleges students who have failed are taught separately, in others, they have to sit with the new batch of first-year students. After they pass their exams, they re-join their original batch, but since they have missed out on a large part of the curriculum, they often find it more difficult than before. As a result, they do not understand many of the lessons taught, and get even more depressed.

M. Kishore, a second-year student at a private dental college said many Tamil-medium students faced problems while adapting to the new environment, coping with English and the tough medical syllabus. “Some Tamil-medium students have failed and are in the break batch. They now have to attend classes with our juniors,” he said.

Megha Kumar, a student at a private medical college, said, “Many private colleges fail at least 50 per cent of students every year. There were 150 students in my class and 52 failed in the first year. We pay around Rs. 6 lakh as fees in the first year. Students in the break batch have to pay an additional Rs. 6 lakh in my college. Many students fail repeatedly due to the stress and depression,” she said.

G.R. Ravindranath, general secretary of Doctors Association for Social Equality said the association has been demanding the suspension of the break system since 2005. “Re-exams should be held within six weeks of publishing results. The break system is leading to depression and alcoholism among students,” he said.

Vice Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, D. Shantharam, said they had written to MCI about doing away with the break system but their request was declined. “The break system will continue for the first and final year of MBBS,” he said.

The university is now looking at holding supplementary examinations soon after the main exams, to avoid wasting time. However, a final decision about this will only be taken at the governing council meeting, to be held soon.

Also See : Previous Posts in This Issue

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