A recent data released by RBI says that Indians spent 44 per cent more from $1.9 billion in 2013-14 to $2.8 billion in 2017-18 while studying abroad and every year around 7,000 students go outside India to study medicine. Lack of seats in government colleges and poor ROI in private medical colleges has made foreign medical education an option for the students. Furthermore, affordable fees, accelerated course time, treatment trends and technological advancements have made studying medicine abroad a more feasible option for Indian students. “For those wanting to study medicine, there are only limited seats available in Indian medical institutions. At an average, 1.5 million students taking their NEET exams hoping to obtain seats among approximately 65,000 medical seats available every year,” says Dr Naresh Shetty, President of the International Program and Strategic Alliance, Ramaiah Group of Institutions.
Ramaiah Group of Institutions has entered a partnership with St George’s University, Grenada (SGU) to offer medical aspirants in India an innovative educational pathway to practice medicine in India, the US, or the UK. In an email interaction with the Higher Education Digest, says Dr Naresh Shetty talks about this new collaboration, why is Ramaiah a right choice in the current COVID situation with limited and uncertain travel options, and many more.
Tell us more about the new SGU and Ramaiah program of MBBS + MD in 5 years.
This program offers 10+2 graduates with the opportunity to acquire a postgraduate MD (Doctor of Medicine) degree in 5 years instead of the traditional 7-year route (MBBS + MS). It is recognized by the Medical Council of India (MCI). Aspirants will spend their first year at Ramaiah in Bengaluru, the second year either at SGU’s joint campus with Northumbria University in the UK or at SGU’s main campus in Grenada, the third year in Grenada campus, and the last two years of the MD program doing their clinical rotations either in the US or in the UK. Upon completion of the program, students will be awarded three degrees: an MD degree by SGU on completion of the program, a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences on successfully completing their third year, and a Certificate in Higher Education in Medical Sciences on finishing their first year.
How the first year at Ramaiah is a good option in the current COVID situation with limited and uncertain travel options?
At this time of global uncertainty, Indian aspirants may be wondering whether applying for a university oversea would be a good option. Considering the entire situations, MD5 program will allow students to stay in India for longer, studying the first of SGU’s five-year postgraduate degree at RIMS in Bengaluru, and the final four years at SGU in Grenada. The program allows some of these young students to get used to a difficult course in a more familiar environment. The parents also feel more comfortable with kids close to their hometown.
How this pathway will help students achieve their dream of practising medicine abroad at a lower cost and lesser time?
This particular course is designed as a fast-tracked medical program. Students who do this course will get a direct passport to pursue their career in the USA or UK as they complete the USMLE during the course and residency is facilitated as they graduate from an American accredited college. A student doing the regular MBBS program in the Indian system has to appear for USMLE after graduation and apply for residency, which is very competitive. The chances of placement are less in the Indian pathway and the waiting period is longer.
What are the challenges faced by aspirants in India to pursue a global career in the international healthcare sector, and how is this partnership resolving it?
Response – For those wanting to study medicine, there are only limited seats available in Indian medical institutions. At an average, 1.5 million students taking their NEET exams hoping to obtain seats among approximately 65,000 medical seats available every year. The remaining applicants have to look for alternatives elsewhere. However, the problem is that students who decide to obtain their medical degree abroad find that most schools are not approved by the Medical Council of India and hence cannot return home to practice on completion. Despite this scenario, today there are around 300,000 Indian students currently studying medicine abroad, with an estimated 10,000 leaving India each year to study medicine at well-respected and globally recognized universities abroad.
Even more importantly, in today’s world gaining a medical degree overseas enables graduates to work internationally in countries of their choice and gain valuable experience in their field of specialization with leading healthcare systems, learning how to serve the needs of diverse populations. This global experience is very attractive to medical institutions in India, when selecting medical practitioners to join their workforce, and offers graduates the flexibility of living and working anywhere in the world.
Not only do students obtain valuable skills when studying abroad, with a strong focus on soft skills and their ability to work with patients and colleagues from very diverse backgrounds, but also many medical specialisms are more advanced in countries like the US or UK than in India (and vice versa). It is essential for healthcare experts of tomorrow to be aware of the cutting-edge technologies available in such countries, to be able to build a successful international career.
The various issues being faced by medical students in India have prompted Ramaiah to pursue an international partnership with St George’s University (SGU) Medical School. The collaboration between Ramaiah and SGU ensures students learn the latest medical and technological advancements and allows them to practice medicine in the USA, India, and more than 50 other countries.
More About Dr Naresh Shetty
Dr Naresh Shetty is an orthopaedic surgeon specialized in trauma and arthroplasty for the past 21 years. With an aptitude in administration, he was the Medical Director at M S Ramaiah Medical Teaching Hospital from 1998-2003 and at Ramaiah Memorial Hospital from 2004 to 2011. Dr Shetty is now the President for International Program and Strategic Alliance at Ramaiah Memorial Hospital. He is the member of Board of Studies in Medical (PG) – (Clinical) – Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and President for Orthopedic Association of South Indian States for the year 2012 – 2013. He has been conferred with International Youth Exchange Programme Award by the Rotary International in 1993 and Howmedica Fellowship in 1993, HongKong.