Have you wondered why there is so much time taken up in the electronic media about Delhi University’s Four Year Undergraduate Course (FYUC)? The motives maybe dubbed as dubious if the only reason was because the American Universities do so. I am not suggesting that the DU’s decision was unfounded as I do not know if there were other reasons, valid or not, behind the move. I am only saying that mimicking ‘foreign’ Universities is not a great idea because our needs and resources can be different.
In 2007/2008 the Dental Council came along with a similar hare brained idea. It was ridiculous because the unilateral decision by the Dental Council to increase the course duration from a four to five year course was justified on the same grounds- International standards. It could have been justified if it was not done at the expense of the one year Internship. The Internship in medical courses in India provide for ‘on patient’ training under supervision. It also provides for some autonomy in decision making in the bridge between being a student and an independent practitioner. In short the decision to scrap internship and increase the duration of the course was in complete variance with all the medical courses in India. The reasons for the increase of the course duration from 4 years to 5 years was justified by the then DCI as
1. The Americans do not have internship
2. It provides more time for study
3. Training (Internship) is not necessary because students are anyway exposed to patients during the course
4. Students will not attend internship!!!
5. Private managements will be financially benefitted!!( The DCI secretary actually sent out a memo to that effect and it is attached)
The only acceptable reason to any rational person is the last one- more money in tuition fees for the private managements. Several of them did charge a 5 year fee for the course which was eventually decreased to four years! More importantly the Colleges will not need to pay the compulsory internship (which many of them still do not pay). A rough calculation for a college with 100 seats charging 2 lakhs per year as fees would be 2 crores a year. Add to this the benefit from not paying the compulsory stipend (which I have fixed at a conservative Rs3000/ a month). The saving for private managements would be a saving of approximately 36 lakhs a year. A financial gain of approximately 2.5 crores a college is no small profit. This involved at least 250 colleges (excluding the Government Colleges) in the country. Something worthy to lobby for! You do the math and see how many crores would have accrued to private managements each year! The question therefore is why did the DCI make such a move and try to stifle the objections raised by several of us? The move was staunchly promoted by the then President, Vice President and some members- significantly a DCI member from Kerala who was in the fore-front of its promotion. There are several reasons why we can pick holes in the rationale of mimicking the US Universities. One of them is that the 4 year US dental courses are done after a four year pre-med graduate degree. It is true that there is no formal internship but the US has a statutory licensing examination before they can practice in any state. Without any of these safe guards, just scrapping internship would have been dangerous to the public. Imagine sending college fresh graduates on to the general population. One senior DCI proponent of the course who was also dean of a dental college said it would enable American Dental Association accreditation. His college was trying for accreditation. It is these kind of personal agendas that hijack our teaching and training!!
Fortunately, a new President was elected and the decision was reversed without causing too much harm to the students. This could have been done in DU too, with a little mediation and planning. Regarding what happened in the DCI, nothing short of a full fledged investigation will reveal the motives behind the attempted move by the previous President and his men. Some skeletons may actually spill out of the ancient cupboard!!