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The long wait for more MBBS seats

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Charm of mbbs: With many more medical aspirants in Tamil Nadu, experts say the MBBS cut-off mark is unlikely to go down.
Charm of mbbs: With many more medical aspirants in Tamil Nadu, experts say the MBBS cut-off mark is unlikely to go down.

RAMYA KANNAN

There are proposals to add more medical seats in Tamil Nadu, but will they be cleared for the current year?

That time of the year is upon us again. Not very long from now the calculations will begin — cut-off marks, ranks, percentile of seats, quota — for that race to possess a precious commodity — an MBBS seat.

While speculations was rife last year that more students were preferring engineering to medicine, subsequent admissions proved that medical courses had not lost their sheen after all, with every single MBBS seat being taken up. Adding to the confusion about the number of seats were issues relating to the merits of entrance examinations and the viability of a ranking procedure in the absence of entrance marks. Everything seemed to be in a flux, with the Medical Council of India not granting recognition for Government Medical Colleges in Vellore, Theni and Kanyakumari initially. However, that issue was resolved, with the intervention of the Union Health Minister, and Tamil Nadu got its quota of seats.

The total number of MBBS seats available will remain the same this year at 1398 (in government medical colleges), sources at the Direcorate of Medical Education say. However they add that there might be an increase if the MCI grants approval and recognition to the newly-constructed Dharmapuri Medical College. That number is expected to be in the range of 100 -150 seats. However, unless approval comes, it will be difficult to predict the exact increase in the number of MBBS seats available for the academic year 2008-2009, sources added. However, the State will have a total of 1645 seats, inclusive of the government quota in private medical colleges alone. Of this quantum, 247 seats will be added to the all-India quota from the State.

There are also two other private institutions that have reached as far as an MCI inspection, but no information is available as yet from the Council about the status of their applications.

Last year, the cut-off for the OC category was 197 marks; for BCs it was 194.50; for MBCs, it was 191.75; SCs 187.25 and STs 179. Seven candidates who had qualified by scoring 200/200 in the examinations were slotted in the first seven places in the merit list.

Educationists who are watching the medical education sector keenly say the cut-off mark is unlikely to go down. “The students’ performance is getting better each year. If anything, the cut-off marks may go up this academic year,” says C. Ramachandran who has also served as secretary of the Selection Committee.

Education counsellor Jayaprakash Gandhi advises that the counselling should be conducted as per overall ranking, instead of as it was done last year, calling the candidates as per caste quota on different days. His suggestion to the government is also to clear the air about whether students who had appeared for the exam earlier could also be eligible in order to avoid the confusion that marred the admission process last year.


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