New Delhi: The NEET results show that more students are opting for non-clinical courses in medical and dental colleges, a senior official of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Monday.
Sudhansh Pant, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said this during a conference on the "Role of biomedical scientists in New India" organised by the National M.Sc Teachers' Association (NMMTA).
The NMMTA has been protesting against the Medical Council of India's proposal that "jeopardises job opportunities for those having M.Sc postgraduate degrees".
"Unfortunately, when one talks of medical education, the role of M.Sc medical teachers somehow gets relegated to the background a little bit... Medical teachers who are doctors get prominence.
"The role of M.Sc teachers is crucial. When we analyse the NEET results... I feel that more and more students have been expressing interest in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and paramedical subjects like microbiology," Pant said.
"Earlier, a majority of the seats in non-clinical and para-clinical courses were not getting filled because the candidates won't opt for such subjects. But there has been a gradual shift, there's been a change... more and more students are opting for these subjects. And, I am sure that these are the subjects of the future," he said.
The health ministry official said the government will try and ensure that "whatever best possible can be done for this segment within the overall framework of rules and regulations... will definitely be looked into with full responsibility".
Non-medical teachers are those having medical M.Sc degree/PhD in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology and biochemistry from MCI-recognised colleges.
The National M.Sc Medical Teachers' Association's website reads, "In India, biomedical scientists with medical M.Sc postgraduate degrees are facing an existential crisis of the highest magnitude."
"A hostile Medical Council of India and an indifferent government that is rife with policy paralysis are making matters worse," it alleges.
Those pursuing medical M.Sc courses in colleges are trained to render services as consultants in diagnostic laboratories, teachers of non-clinical subjects and scientists in research establishments.
"Shrinking job opportunities and intensive lobbying have resulted in incorrect portrayal of these degrees and denial of opportunities in the area of their expertise. Neither the Health Ministry nor the HRD Ministry has any clue about the conduct of these courses. There is no professional council to regulate these courses or registration of these degree holders," a page on the website reads.
"The lobbyists are working overtime to exclude biomedical scientists from diagnostics. Now, the MCI wishes to reduce the non-medical faculty to 15-25 per cent and then subsequently stop hiring them," the NMMTA claims.