I cannot commit on that. I have to see what it is: Shantharam

The new Vice-Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University, D. Shantharam, said on Thursday that any decision on continuing with the new examination pattern proposed by his predecessor Mayil Vahanan Natarajan would be made only after studying the issue and discussing it with stake-holders.

Dr. Shantharam assumed office on Thursday at an investiture ceremony at the university. He took oath as the university’s eighth Vice-Chancellor in the presence of Health Minister V.S.Vijay and J. Radhakrishnan, Prinicipal Secretary, Health and Family welfare.

During his tenure, Dr. Mayil Vahanan introduced a new examination pattern which drew flak from students and parents. Under the new system, a candidate in first year MBBS should pass with a minimum 50 per cent mark in each of the components – Theory-I, Theory-II, Oral, Practical and Internal Assessment – to qualify for the second year. The new examination pattern resulted in reduced pass percentage among first year students.

After medical students approached the Madras High Court, the university administration said it would not apply the new regulation for I MBBS students who wrote their examination in August 2012 and would apply the Medical Council of India’s regulations for that batch. However, the university said it would apply the new regulations to the next batch of students.

Asked to spell out his stand on the examination pattern, Dr. Shantharam said, “I cannot commit on that. I have to see what it is and what the merits are in continuing it; how it is going to affect the student community. I have to discuss with the legal department and I also have to discuss it with the MCI. Appropriate measures will be taken.”

“Once I take over, I have to go through that and discuss with the concerned department. If there are any negatives, they can be rectified within the rules available to us,” he said.

To a query on whether he would be deviating from his predecessor’s policy, Dr. Shantharam said, “I won’t say that. I cannot comment at this point of time.”

C.V. Birmanandham, former vice-chancellor of the medical university who came to felicitate the new vice-chancellor, suggested that the examination pattern introduced by Dr. Mayil Vahnan must not be followed.

Disapproving the new pattern, Dr. Bhirmanandham told The Hindu that students should be given excellent and rigorous training.

“Improving standards cannot be done simply by raising the pass mark and bringing tears to thousands of students and pushing them to courts for justice and requesting the government to interfere. So I totally disapprove the system. The MCI’s system must be followed,” he said.