Grading and ranking of medical colleges affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, in a pattern similar to the system being followed by Anna University, is in the offing, according to Vice-Chancellor Mayilvahanan Natarajan.

Grading will be done for colleges offering courses in the four streams — medical, dental, para-medical and Indian Systems of Medicine (Homeopathy) — and affiliated to the only public medical varsity in the State. Consultations have been initiated with Anna University in order to adopt a feasible model. Talking about bettering university-college relations, the seventh Vice-Chancellor of the medical varsity told The Hindu that he hoped to place the university as the central piece in the life of a medical student studying in Tamil Nadu.

The varsity has about 300 constituent colleges spread in about 30 districts in the State. “For instance, in the West, a student identifies more with the university (say, Harvard) rather than the college he studies in. That is not the case so far here. We are trying to bring that association in,” Dr. Mayilvahanan said.

He said he hoped to cement reforms that will carry the varsity forward over the next 50 years. Reforms in administration and academics will be the guiding principle, he added. Improving college-varsity relations will be a key part of that. “It is rather difficult to keep track of all the 300 colleges. So, the idea now is to visit one district a month and take a look at all the colleges there. We will thereby establish regular interactions with them. It is necessary to find out what they want, and what they can give to the university,” he explains.

Introducing e-governance to smoothen administration at the varsity is also part of the agenda. “To run things in an institution as huge as the varsity, we need to computerise processes. So far, very little is computerised here. In fact, 60 per cent of our staff are not comfortable with using computers. This has to change.” The idea is to provide a unique ID to every student and have the system so well-oiled that at the touch of a button, all details about him or her will be available for the five years of medical education, Dr. Mayilvahanan added. Computerisation will also reduce the delays that have come to be perceived as part of the varsity’s standard operating procedure. As part of reforms in the academic sector, the varsity will look at curriculum change so as to fill the demand-supply gap. Apart from inviting public-private partnerships for health research, the varsity will now also provide fellowships in sub-specialisations within specialties, as is currently being offered by Western universities. Introducing certificates courses for allied health professionals, such as pump technicians and physicians assistants, after completion of Plus Two and three years of study, is well within the varsity’s ambit and will be done soon, Dr. Mayilvahanan added.