NEXT may be Mandatory for Foreign Medical Graduates

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Foreign Medical Graduates keen to practice in India may have to clear the National Exit Test (NEXT) instead of Foreign Medical Graduates Exam (FMGE) from next year.

In an attempt to streamline medical education and maintain uniformity in quality of doctors practicing in the country, the health ministry is planning to merge FMGE with NEXT, which has been proposed to assess quality of MBBS pass-outs.

At present, foreign medical graduates are required to write the FMGE and need to show Medical Council of India (MCI) eligibility certificates to become eligible to practice here. Now, the government is planning to merge FMG with NEXT and scrap the MCI eligibilty score and instead introduce NEET score for foreign graduates.

According to the health ministry, in 2015-16, only 610 out of 5,863 Indian students who pursued medical graduation abroad passed the screening test conducted by MCI. However, the number of such students going abroad, mainly to China, is constantly increasing because while seats in government medical colleges in India are limited, pursing MBBS in private colleges here is a very high cost affair. The proposal of NEXT is part of the National Medical Commission Bill, 2018, which is likely to be taken up in the monsoon session of Parliament. The bill, which was amended following recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee on health, now proposes a uniform national exit test in the final year of MBBS course.
FMGE are conducted twice a year and require 50% marks to clear. Earlier this year, the ministry has also made it mandatory for Indian students to clear the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) if they want to pursue medical studies outside the country.

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