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IITs to offer medical courses: Good move or bad?

September 14, 2010 13:15 IST

IIT Council approves proposal to allow IITs to offer MBBS course. Good move or bad? Tell us!

On September 10, the IIT Council (headed by Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal) approved the proposal to allow the presitigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to offer medical courses.

Thus far the health ministry had opposed the idea of the engineering institutes setting up their own medical schools and hospitals. The ministry instead encouraged courses that did not lead to the actual practice of medicine, such as biomedical engineering and e-health.

With the approval of the Council and the pending amendment to the Institute of Technologies Act, the IITs can now undertake courses that allow for the practice of medicine (with consent from the Medical Council of India) and also undertake interdisciplinary research in the field of medicine, bio-engineering, biotechnology and related subjects.

The Council also gave the go-ahead for foreign faculty to teach at the IITs, in an effort to address the severe faculty crunch the institutes have been facing. According to reports, of the current 4,267 vacancies, only 2,983 have been filled. According to the decision, 10 per cent of the total faculty strength of an IIT can now be foreign nationals.

What do you think of the decision to allow the IITs to offer medical programmes? Will this move raise the level of medical education offered in the country?

Is it an effective way to address the need for more medical colleges in India?

Or do you think it would be wiser to for the IITs to stick the field of engineering and technology, and leave medical studies to established hospitals and colleges?

Whether the move to allow foreign nationals to teach at the IITs is a positive one is debatable as well. While it does address the need for more teachers, it means fewer jobs for Indian faculty.  

So what's your take on the Council's decision? Share your views on the messageboard below!