Even as technology has aided in the growth of the education sector, medical experts seem to have split the sector between naysayers and believers. With the introduction of Competency Based Medical Education (CBME), the National Medical Council (NMC) has circulated a new academic curriculum which emphasises on early clinical exposure and skill-based knowledge in the initial years. “Due to these sudden changes and closure of medical colleges during Covid-19, in 2021 a lot of first year MBBS students failed the examination. Hence, online medical tution classes became a need,” Dr Sumer Sethi, CEO, Delhi Academy of Medical Sciences (DAMS) told FE Education Online. However, according to Shivkumar Utture, member, NMC, the council has categorically stated that online medical education is not encouraged in India.
India has a scarcity of six lakh doctors and two million nurses, a 2019 report by Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP) in the United States revealed. “India has undergone a shortage of human resources within healthcare. Latest estimates suggest 0.9 doctors are available per 1,000 population. Post graduation seats are not enough to meet this need. Therefore, med-ed-tech helps doctors upskill to meet this alarming need,” Gerald Jaideep, CEO, Medvarsity, said.
As per industry experts, medical field requires definite practical skills and experience which online education can hardly provide. “With major components of skill being involved, practical classes are needed for medical discourses. However, in a limited time frame, it is impossible to induce complete medical knowledge to students within a few years of medical study,” a senior medical professional, on condition of anonymity, said. He further added that if medical education can be switched to hybrid mode, with theoretical knowledge through online medium, and practical classes through offline mode, aspirants would be helped to greater extent.
Furthermore, experts opined that online medical classes or med-ed-techs can provide a wider range of opportunities for medical practitioners as it reduces the geographical limitations. In tier 1 or metro cities, medical education scopes are broader in comparison to tier 2 and 3 cities. “Through an online mode, medical experts from across the world can transmit knowledge, which will eventually reinforce medical research,” Sethi said. Therefore, while technology has broaden its presence in the education sector with virtual classes, the complete adoption of the same in medical academia is yet to get a concrete ground.