R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, Feb 26 – Maintenance of uniformity in the standard of medical education and carrying out collaborative studies and research with other health universities of India and abroad will be two of the major goals of the newly set up Srimanta Sankaradeva University of Health Sciences, said the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Dr Umesh Chandra Sarma. Talking to The Assam Tribune, Dr Sarma, who took over as the first VC of the Health University on February 16, pointed out that at present, the medical colleges of the State function under different universities and though the syllabus is prescribed by the Medical Council of India, there have been variations. Moreover, the examinations are held on different dates with different question papers, which created problems for the students seeking admissions in the postgraduate courses. But with the establishment of the Health University, all the medical colleges will come under the purview of it and there will be uniform standard of education and examinations in the State.
Dr Sarma pointed out that normally the medical college hospitals come under the scanner of the public, but “we must remember that the hospitals are only one component of the medical colleges and there is need for more academic activities in the medical colleges. We are planning to go for periodical assessment of the performance of the teachers and the number of research papers they manage to bring out.”
The VC said that initiating collaborative studies with other medical universities of the country and abroad would be the second major goal of the newly formed university. He said that such collaborative studies and exchange programmes would open a new window to the health professionals of the State in the days to come, which would be beneficial to the State. The Government of Assam has also set aside funds for training of the teachers of the medical colleges, which would be of much help to the health professionals.
The university, at the initial stages, will have only 70 persons right from the VC to the fourth grade staff and the Government has sanctioned an amount of Rs 2 crore to start the university. Dr Sarma said that after it starts functioning, the university would be able to sustain itself to a great extent by its own revenue in the form of affiliation fees from the colleges, Central projects, etc. He said that all private medical institutions would now have to take affiliation of the new university and a special team would be constituted for thorough inspections before granting the no-objection certificate to any organization willing to set up medical colleges or other medical institutions. He revealed that only recently, a proposal was received from a private party for setting up a dental college in the State and the proposal would be examined soon.
Gradually the university would open advanced PG courses in phases and launch orientation programmes for the teachers of the medical colleges and other health institutions. The other main aims on the agenda of the university include setting up of a research centre primarily for research on local health problems and establishment of study centres integrating all faculties and disciplines of health sciences. Promoting equitable distribution of facilities in all the medical colleges will also be one of the goals of the new university, said Dr Sarma.
The first activity for the university would be to constitute the Executive Council to formulate the regulations. Interestingly, though the State Governor is the Chancellor of other State universities, the Chief Minister is the Chancellor of the Health University.
Dr Sarma revealed that medical education in Assam has come a long way in the last few years with the establishment of new colleges and other institutions, and all those would now come under the purview of the new university. In 2002, Assam had three medical colleges, one regional dental college, one regional nursing college and three institutes of pharmacy. But the scene has totally changed with three new medical colleges being set up. The admission into the Jorhat Medical College should start from the 2010 session, while admissions into the other two new medical colleges should start from 2011. One medical institute to provide diploma course has started functioning in Jorhat and the Government of India has requested the other States to follow the model to solve the problem of shortage of healthcare facilities in the interior places. The Government is also planning to establish three institutes of paramedical sciences and three more nursing colleges in a phased manner in the days to come. Assam Tribune