Will the NExT Exam Provide a Uniform Metric to Assess the Quality of FMGs?

By Mrunmayai Bobade Updated On - Jun 30, 2022 12:41 PM

The National Exit Test (NExT) will halt the culture of rote learning and assess the theoretical and practical knowledge of MBBS graduates. For foreign medical graduates (FMGs) seeking authorisation to practise medicine in India, the exam will also serve as the qualifying criterion.

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In order to develop a standardised national medical examination in the country for PG medical admissions, plans are underway to start the NExT exam, albeit its implementation in 2023 is still uncertain.

As per a senior professor of medicine at Safdarjung Medical Hospital in New Delhi, the National Medical Commission (NMC) endorsed the idea of a common exit test for all medical graduates, underscoring the necessity to implement NExT as soon as possible. 

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To emphasise the need for "quality clinicians" and a uniform metric to assess students, he cited the example of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), which medical practitioners must pass before they can practise medicine in the United States.

NExT is scheduled to be conducted within three years, with a target implementation date of 2023. NExT should be given equal weightage, with a theoretical and practical component to assess the proficiency of doctors from India and abroad.

NExT will be based on conceptual knowledge from the first, second, and final years of the curriculum. Unlike NEET PG, which is MCQ-based and focuses largely on the final year syllabus, NExT will put an end to the culture of rote learning.

The exam will probably be far more thorough in evaluating doctors' critical thinking abilities. It would therefore push foreign medical institutions to raise the standard of education and training they provide to foreign medical graduates.

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According to Dr Z. Zayapragassarazan, professor and head of the Department of Medical Education at JIPMER in Puducherry, NExT intends to be on par with international standards, enabling the medical education system to set quality benchmarks and accomplish the stated outcomes.

As per Dr Manoj Andley, director professor, Department of Surgery, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, the difficulty level of the exam will not expand the scarcity of doctors post-Covid; what continues to remain is whether these practitioners (foreign returned or home-grown) are effectively utilised.

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Source: The Times of India (TOI)

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