NEW DELHI: The Union health ministry plans to grade and rank government-run medical colleges to improve the quality of medical education, said B. Srinivas, additional director general (medical education), Union health ministry.

Private institutions may also be graded at a later stage, given the boom in private medical education, Srinivas said.

“For good ranking and grades, the medical colleges will compete for best facilities. This will not only improve the quality of medical education but will also improve the medical colleges overall in terms of infrastructure and facilities," Srinivas said in an interview.

The medical education department has proposed mandatory grading of all government medical colleges, he said.

The move is aimed at helping the government secure and establish the reputation of its medical colleges on an international level as is the case with the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

The Union human resources development (HRD) ministry’s National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), which grades IIMs in a similar manner, had started ranking medical colleges on its own in 2018.

“We are considering the ranking of medical colleges on the basis of choices of students during counselling. We will have proper audits and reviews to grade medical colleges. In the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 we have proposed this ranking and grading system. The NMC will lay down policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals. It will also assess the requirements of human resources and infrastructure in healthcare," Srinivas said.

India’s top five medical colleges according to the NIRF ranking 2018 are AIIMS, New Delhi, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, and King George’s Medical University, Lucknow.

The NIRF parameters broadly cover teaching, learning and resources, research and professional practices, graduation outcomes, outreach and inclusivity, and perception. The significant sub-parameters are student strength, including doctoral students, faculty-student ratio, total budget and its utilization, research and professional practice, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and patents filed, published, granted and licensed, percentage of women, economically and socially challenged students, and facilities for physically challenged students.

India has 502 medical colleges, of which 245 are government medical colleges and 257 are in the private sector, according to the health ministry.

“It is very important to have rankings and grades for medical colleges. In fact, the government should also add a mandatory comparison with the private medical colleges," said Arup Mitra, professor, Health Policy Research Unit at the Institute of Economic Growth. “With such an initiative, the quality control will become easier as it will increase competitiveness. Since, the cost of education in government medical colleges is way lesser than the private medical colleges they take the larger share of students. But these institutions also need quality to secure their position in the world," he said.

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