The National MSc Medical Teachers Association (NMMTA) staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi against guidelines issued by the National Medical Council (NMC).
The agitating members have submitted a memorandum to the health ministry seeking rollback of the guidelines, representation in the NMC, formation of a council, ending what they called academic apartheid, promotion of research, PhD and post-doctoral fellowships in medical colleges among others.
As per the erstwhile Medical Council of India’s (MCI) Teachers Eligibility and Qualifications (TEQ) guidelines, candidates with Medical M.Sc and Ph D qualifications could be appointed as teachers in the five non-clinical specialities to the extent of 30% including 50% in Biochemistry of the total faculty strength. NMC was expected to carry forward the MCI’s guidelines. The draft released for public feedback by NMC was in tune with the MCI norms.
However, when the finalized norms were published through a gazetted notification, the permissible percentage was halved to 15% in Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry and completely removed for Pharmacology and Microbiology disciplines, sending shockwaves among the Medical M.Sc and Ph D community.
In a FAQ subsequently released by the NMC, it was clarified that the said notification would apply to new medical colleges starting 2021-22 MBBS batch. At the same time, the guidelines would apply to the existing medical colleges that would seek to enhance MBBS seats. Also, all new appointments in old and new medical colleges alike would be as per the new norms.
The teachers with Medical M Sc and Ph D qualifications were inappropriately labelled as non-medical, they claimed and 150 of such teachers and students pursuing Medical M.Sc courses from medical colleges across India had converged at the national capital to protest these guidelines and demanded immediate restoration of the previous MCI norms.
Speaking to MaaHyderabad, the President of the association Dr Sridhar Rao said: “With the new guidelines in place, the current faculties, especially in Pharmacology and Microbiology, would be forced to remain either in the same job until retirement, or till they get sacked or forced to leave as all doors for appointments in other medical colleges have been closed. One will not be able to move to other locations for career or personal reasons. With no other prospects, these faculties could be subjected to a variety of harassments and denials of opportunities including promotions or salary hikes. This would be a serious human rights violation”.
“Hundreds of such teachers are currently working on tenure or contract basis. Medical colleges are refusing to continue or renew their services citing the new guidelines. All of them would be rendered jobless. NMC’s statement that existing faculties wouldn’t be affected is untrue. Tutors, who have already put in four years are being denied promotions. A couple of teachers have already been sacked”, said Arjun Maitra, General Secretary of NMMTA while demanding the central government to revert its decision.