JNU’s medical school : The Tribune India
IN keeping with the reform envisaged in the New Education Policy (NEP 2020) that all universities and colleges must aim to become multidisciplinary by 2040, New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University has taken the lead with its Rs 900-crore plan to set up a school of medical sciences, offering courses from the MBBS to PhD levels, and an attached 500-bedded multi-specialty hospital on its campus. That the go-ahead is emanating from JNU not only imbues the proposal with credibility that is crucial towards addressing the acute shortage of doctors in our country — an estimated six lakh — but also serves as a beacon to other institutes of higher learning.
With vast expanses of land at the disposal of many established universities and institutes that can be put to constructive use and the prestige of the high standards of learning that they enjoy, the new medical schools would be trustworthy fountainheads of medical personnel. Once such citadels of higher learning expand and diversify their curricula, the need for the largely bureaucratic and dubious clearances, as resorted to by many private medical colleges that have mushroomed in the past two decades, is likely to be minimised, if not obviated.
That our healthcare sector is ailing has been starkly exposed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Besides the poor and inequitable infrastructure in the health system, the building blocks of human resources have been found to be critically inadequate. The NEP’s push for an easier and more balanced access to professional medical courses for all aspiring students is, thus, timely. An increased funding for the medical education holds the key to the success of the worthy goal. The scheme of the Centre in partnership with state governments to build medical colleges attached with district hospitals, specially in underserved areas, is another effort geared to plugging the systemic gaps. Notably, the region stands to gain soon, with work on upgrading the civil hospitals of SAS Nagar (Punjab), Bhiwani (Haryana), Chamba, Hamirpur, Nahan (HP) and Almora (Uttarakhand) as medical colleges going on briskly.