Every year a lot of Indian students go abroad for their medical education owing to fewer seats in the country and stiff competition. These students who pursue their medical education abroad are supposed to pass the Screening Test conducted by the Medical Council of India (MCI) before they can start the medical practice. The obsession with getting a foreign medical degree is proving costly for Indian students. Thousands of newly-anointed Indian doctors, who received their medical degrees from abroad, are failing in masses for the past four years in clearing the mandatory screening test. Only 21% which means around one in five students, who received foreign medical degrees and appeared in the screening test, qualified this year. As per the reports between 2012 and 2015, only 19% of those appeared for the screening test have passed.
Law for the Indian Graduates with Foreign Medical Degrees
Indian students are permitted to seek medical qualification from any recognized medical education institution in abroad. However, these students are required to register with a State Medical Council (SMC) if they wish to practice in India after they have received the degree. SMC can register a student with foreign medical qualification only after they have appeared and passed in the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) conducted by the National Board of Examination (NBE). The FMGE is conducted twice a year and a student has to score a minimum of 50% marks to be declared passed.
However if the year by year records of the number of students who sat for the screening exam are taken into consideration, then it clearly reflects that since 2004, the number of instances of successful candidates crossing 50 per cent of the total who appeared was two, while in one particular instance, only 4 per cent students passed the test.
The data provided by NBE under RTI Act shows that highest percentage of 76.8 successful candidates was registered way back in September 2005 when 2,851 students appeared for the test and 2,192 passed it. Then in the year 2008 – 1,087 out of 1,851 candidates were able to clear the screening test. The previous two sessions indicate that only 10.4 per cent and 11.4 per cent candidates had cleared the test.
India recognizes post-graduate medical degrees from only five countries – Australia, Canada, the UK, the US and New Zealand. Doctors from these countries are exempted from taking the test and are allowed to practice in India.
FMGE consists of one paper, containing 300 multiple choice single correct response questions. The medium of the paper is English language only which is delivered in two parts. Duration is 150 minutes each, to be taken in a single day.
The examination is a multiple choice questions test delivered using computer network. Amazingly, there is no negative marking. To qualify the examination, a candidate is required to score at least 150 out of 300 marks.