Medical Education In India To Undergo A Significant Reform: National Exit Test for MBBS Students From India or Abroad To Be Held in 2023: NMC
NEXT as Described in the Act
NEXT is supposed to serve three purposes.
- First, it will act as a passing examination for final MBBS examination.
- Second, it will act as a qualifying examination to grant the license to practice modern medicine in India for Indian as well as foreign medical graduates.
- Third, it will serve as a competitive test that will form the basis for admission to the postgraduate (PG) broad-speciality courses in the medical institutions of India
Medical education in India is expected to undergo a significant reform after the introduction of the National Medical Commission Act. Single, nationwide National Exit Test (NEXT) is an essential provision under this act. It aims to bring about uniformity in the minimum standard of final MBBS examination, quality control in the licentiate examination and elimination of multiple entrance examinations for admission in postgraduate courses.
The National Exit Test ( NExT) will be conducted in the first half of 2023, informed Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Mansukh Mandaviya. The decision was made in a review meeting with the National Medical Commission (NMC) today, July 30. “Govt is committed to creating quality Medical Education, Transparent Examination infrastructure and Health Services, said Mandaviya.”
The results of NExT both steps 1 and 2 will be used for the qualifying final MBBS exam, to get a license for practising medicine in India as well as for the merit-based allocation of postgraduate (PG) seats in broad specialties. The exam will be the same for everyone whether trained in India or outside, thus solving the problem of foreign medical graduates (FMGs) / Mutual recognition, the health ministry said.
A mock exam will also be conducted in 2022 to prepare the students for the first-ever NeXT. “As apprised by officials of NMC in the meeting, efforts are underway to ensure that the National Exit Test ( NExT) will be conducted in the first half of 2023 as per the roadmap. To test the procedure and remove anxiety among medical students, a Mock Run is also being planned and will be conducted in 2022. ,” the ministry added.
During the review meeting, the ways to conduct NExT in a world-class manner were also discussed and deliberated. While addressing the meeting, Mandaviya also said that the government “is committed to creating quality medical education and transparent examination infrastructure and health services and is relentlessly working with all stakeholders to achieve this objective.”
Since the NEXT has multiple and varied objectives, we suggest a three-step scheme for the conduct of NEXT. Step I (Part A and B) will be equivalent to present-day first and second professional MBBS examinations and step II will act as the final professional MBBS and licentiate examination. Step III will form the basis for admission to the different PG courses. The written exam of Step I and II will consist of structured long, short and multiple choice type questions, whereas practical or clinical examination will consist of structured instruments with lesser inter-rater variability (viz., OSCE, OSPE, OSLER, etc.). This opinion piece is a result of in-depth discussions among major stakeholders such as MBBS students, resident doctors, and faculty of AIIMS, New Delhi.