The New Delhi-based Education Promotion Society of India (EPSI) on Sunday urged the Central government to bring a new education policy so as to liberalise the higher education in the country.

G. Viswanathan, Chancellor, VIT University, who is also the president of the EPSI, told reporters here that the EPSI had been preparing a comprehensive policy note by soliciting the views of public, academicians, parents, students and officials on the current status of higher education in the country. The document, aimed at qualitative changes in the education sector, including in higher and professional education, would be handed over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Human Resource Development Ministry.

He said there was a need for drastic change in the policies and programmes of both State and Central governments on education. Though there was not much problem in the availability of primary, secondary, arts and engineering education in several States, the availability of medical and paramedical institutions was not up to the expected ratio of the population.

The contribution of medical institutions to the Gross Enrolment Ration (GER) on higher education was just normal when compared to engineering institutions. There was an acute shortage of doctors in the country. As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, there was a shortage of six lakh doctors and 12 lakh nurses in the country. The total number of medical seats, Mr. Viswanathan said, would not be more than 50,000 in the country. It was just around 3,000 in Tamil Nadu. As per a study, medical institutions received more than six lakh candidates for 50,000 seats every year.

The cumbersome norms stipulated by the Medical Council of India (MCI) for starting medical institutions had restricted the growth of both government and private medical institutions.

Heavy competition for limited seats had actually escalated the cost of education in the country. A large chunk of aspiring students went to various countries, including China, Russia and former Soviet Union countries, for studying medicine. Hence, there was a new education policy similar to the new economic policy introduced in early part of 1990’s.

Asked about the chances of degradation of quality if the medical education norms were liberalised, Mr. Viswanathan said a comprehensive, qualitative and transparent accreditation system, which was prevalent in many countries, including the United States, would certainly ensure quality of medical education in India too.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, there was a shortage of six lakh doctors and 12 lakh nurses in the country