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NRI students to face a separate Entrance Test to qualify for Medical Colleges in India

The Medical Council of India (MCI) has directed private medical colleges across India to hold separate entrance test to gauge the merit of Non Resident Indian (NRI) Students.nri-medical-students-entrance-exam
The Medical colleges are meeting on Saturday to discuss the implications of the same.
The MCI directive dated January 16 had directed the colleges to conduct the NRI students’ entrance test starting with the 2015-16 academic year. Out of the 4,000 medical seats in the state, 15 per cent quota is set aside for NRI students – around 600.

At least 20 private college management representatives under the aegis of Karnataka Religious and Linguistic Minority Professional Colleges Association (KRLMPCA) have planned to brainstorm to weigh the pros and cons of having to conduct a separate entrance test for NRI students.

“We will conduct a meeting with various medical associations and private college principals on Saturday (February 7). We want to maintain a status quo and discuss the implications with MCI,” said Shafi Ahmed, secretary, KRLMPCA.

COMED-K is yet to decide on a date for meeting to discuss the implications and how they could go about it. Its executive secretary AS Srikanth said, “We are yet to discuss the issue.”

The big challenge for the private colleges is this: Whether NRI students should be clubbed with the regular under-graduates for the entrance test, or a separate entrance test should be conducted for them?

A separate entrance test for NRI students is expected to adversely impact the private medical colleges. This is why: NRI seats sell for huge amounts that come as significant revenue for private colleges. The cost of each seat goes up to Rs 80-90 lakh, including donations and ‘hidden charges’.

Many of private colleges would merely verify the eligibility of the candidates (as per Medical Council of India norms) and admit them on a first-come-first-serve basis which included checking who could pay the highest fees.

One reason why NRI seats are allowed is that private colleges give a share of the seats to the government through the Common Entrance Test (CET). The colleges argue that these seats which are being priced under Rs 50,000 have been subsidised. Hence they charge higher fees from the NRI students (the fee is usually charged in US dollars) to subsidise the CET seats.
In the absence of an entrance test for NRI candidates it was a cakewalk as long as the aspiring candidate was ready with the money. Now, the college managements are worried as MCI’s insistence on colleges to look at the merit of the NRI students could affect their finances.

A separate entrance test for NRI students would also hit the touts hard. MCI officials said every year most colleges got NRI students from touts or agents. An entrance test would render their services obsolete.

MCI secretary Dr Reena Nayyar defended the decision saying the Supreme Court has held that in admissions under the NRI quota, merit cannot be compromised. “According to Regulation 5 of the graduate medical education Regulation, 1997, the selection of students to a medical college shall be based solely on the merit of the candidate.

Colleges gearing up
Meanwhile, a few of the medical colleges are gearing up for the separate entrance test to NRI candidates.
Rajarajeshwari Medical College’s dean, Dr H Rangappa, said, “Complying with the MCI guidelines, we have decided to conduct a test. However, as this is the first such test for NRI candidates we need to see how this will go forward.”

The MCI had directed all private medical colleges “to ensure that admissions in NRI category are made through a Common Entrance Test (CET) from a merit list drawn from the CET, from the academic year 2015-2016.”

The circular further states that as NRI students would have taken qualifying examinations from different boards/examining bodies “it is…essential to have a uniform evaluation of their academic ability so as to make a proper merit list…It is compulsory to have an entrance test for NRI students so as to determine their merit in order to enable them to exercise preference for admissions to the various medical colleges.”

The MCI directive further said: “A limited reservation of such seats, not exceeding 15 per cent may be made available to NRIs depending on the discretion of the management subject to two conditions; first, such seats should be utilised by bona fide NRIs or their children or wards only. Secondly, within this quota, merit should not be given a complete go by.”

The directive has shaken the colleges as they are worried about revenues being affected

Source: Bangalore Mirror
Date: Feb 7, 2015