Bhubaneswar : Following the global epidemic, medical students from several medical colleges of the state have been on their backfoot since the past two months. While the natural course takes 4.5 years for MBBS and 1 year for Internship, stories of medicos in Odisha have a plot twist. Due to delay in their curriculum, it takes 5 years for graduation, followed by 1 year of internship. Thus, the medicos from Odisha fail to appear the first PG Entrance Examination which their national counterparts do so comfortably.
This being the backdrop of a rather bigger problem, the Student’s body of SCB Medical College had raised the issue multiple number of times in the past 2.5 years. Things seemed to take positive turns when the issue finally gained attention of the Health Minister and Utkal University last year. Authorities came forward to discuss and debate the possibility of reducing the six months delay and rectifying the derailed curriculum, thus placing it at par with the national norms. The decision was heartily welcomed by students of SCB Medical College and exams were decided to be preponed for the year 2019-20, by atleast 2-3 months.
But things changed abruptly with the first detected Corona positive case in Odisha. Exams were stranded halfway, suspended until further notice and hostels were vacated. It’s been over two months now and no information about exams have been issued either by the University or the authorities. Moreover, it’s been close to four months since they had attended their last physical class. Conducting exams would worsen the delay and force them to face another major setback, abating which was their major goal until a few months back! They have put forward two of their major requests to the Governor and the Health Minister: resuming classes via online platforms and cancellation of all undergraduate exams for this academic year.
With uncertainty hovering on the entire nation, medical undergraduates face an imminent threat of losing an year, yet again. All the efforts that had been put to rectify the delay in curriculum seems futile. The students have been trying to reach out to the authorities since the past one month, but to no good. They are being ignored. The UG students of a fraternity which is the front-runner in this hard time, are not being addressed, more so, forced to face an impending loss of an entire academic year. Lately, IMA MSN, a medical body that raises issues that concerns young doctors, has echoed their voice at the state level. The matter has been addressed to the Governor of the State, the Health Minister and DMET. Earlier similar constructive efforts were made by other medical bodies like AOMSA and AIMSA, but neither the government nor the authorities paid any attention to it. Their ignorance has left the students at the mercy of the pandemic, it seems.