How government’s move to localise study of medicine has faced opposition from the doctors community

As per industry experts, as medical science is a multidisciplinary subject, translation for academic vocabulary is a matter of concern.

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From Hindi to many other regional languages, the government is now trying to provide medical courses, just beyond English. However, the move seems to have become a bone of contention between government and medical professionals. “The state cannot decide how medical education will be planned. It is the prerogative of the National Medical Commission (NMC) under the NMC act. As of now, NMC has not given any such agenda on medical education in regional language,” Dr. Shivkumar Shankar Utture, president, State Medical Council, Maharashtra told FE Education Online. 

On World Health Day, April 7, 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tweeted, “Several new medical colleges have come up. Our Government’s efforts to enable the study of medicine in local languages will give wings to the aspirations of countless youngsters.” 

In fact, this March, the Madhya Pradesh (MP) government called for implementation of MBBS courses in Hindi. According to Dr. Lokendra Dave, professor, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal, under an MP government funded pilot project, the college offers MBBS course in Hindi along with English to first year undergraduate students. “We have created new study materials where English terminologies are written in Devanagari script. The mandate came in April 2022. Students coming from Hindi backgrounds have welcomed the move,” he added.  

As per industry experts, as medical science is a multidisciplinary subject, translation for academic vocabulary is a matter of concern. In addition, experts opined that the majority of the books in medical science are written in western countries, which by default are published in English. According to Dr.Rajiv Garg,senior medicine specialist, ESH Sahibabad, implementation of any regional language other than English is only possible if the complete study material of medical science is translated and taught simultaneously with English. “But it is practically impossible to translate all  medical terminologies, as combination of drugs will create confusions,” he noted. 

Medical professionals believe that while universal language such as English allows doctors to work across geographies within India, as well as outside, regional languages will create obstruction in migration. “The new language implementation would rather be harmful. Although the teaching learning process can be conducted in bilingual manner, the core structure should be in a language that the world recognises,” said a senior medical professional, on the  condition of anonymity.  

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First published on: 07-06-2022 at 07:55 IST