Last week, around 300 students from Madras Medical College (MMC) and 200 from Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) held a protest against a new evaluation system that has been brought into their curriculum, as well as other regulations. On October 19, they filed a petition in the Madras High Court against Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, to which their colleges are affiliated.

The new system stipulates a minimum score in each subject, as against a cumulative average. The students also protested the increase in the minimum attendance percentage, and demanded the doing away of a rule that mandates a break of six months before a failed exam can be retaken.

As per the Medical Council of India (MCI) norms, each student needs to score a cumulative average of 50 per cent in all their papers.

However, last year, the TN Dr. MGR Medical University, put in place an upgraded evaluation system under which each student has to secure 50 per cent marks in each of their theory papers, along with 50 per cent in the practicals and the oral section.

“For the new evaluation system to actually benefit students, teaching methodologies must first be enhanced,” said a student of MMC.

Vice Chancellor of the university, Dr. Mayil Vahanan Natarajan, who has brought in the system, said it was necessary. “The evaluation standards set by the MCI haven’t been updated in over 45 years. Students end up studying well for one paper and not so well for another, knowing that they can score 50 per cent cumulatively. What kind of doctors will they make if they are not thorough with the entire syllabus?” he asked.

While the protest about the evaluation system was held mostly by MMC students, students of KMC were aggrieved about the mandatory six-month break after a failed exam.

“It is a very unfair rule,” said a student of KMC. “This issue has unnecessarily dragged on for half a year. Because of this, we have not been able to focus on our studies this year.”

On this, Dr. Natarajan said he had written to the MCI a year ago to allow students to take failed papers in the same year. We are waiting for a response.”

The upping of the minimum attendance from 75 per cent to 90 per cent has also irked these students.

“We don’t even get medical leave. A few students were admitted with dengue at GH. Even then they were not given leave,” said a student of MMC.

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