Detailing how the assessment of new medical colleges or colleges that are looking to increase the number of seats in the upcoming academic year will be done, the Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB) under the country’s apex medical education regulator underlined the importance of the new Aadhaar Enabled Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS).
For colleges looking to increase seats, the guidelines say, a physical inspection will be carried out only if they have adequate faculty members with an attendance of at least 75 per cent for the three prior months.
For new medical colleges, the AEBAS registration of all faculty members should be completed and attendance for at least 10 working days should be available at the time of inspection.
Government medical colleges that have been running MBBS programmes for at least five years will be exempted from physical inspection for increasing PG seats. Private medical colleges and government medical colleges starting PG courses will still be physically inspected.
In a notice released along with the guidelines, the board said that there would not be a physical or online assessment of examination required for post graduate seats. Instead, colleges are required to keep video recording of the examination process and data about the examiners, examination process, cases given for the examination, or student thesis. This will be checked along with assessment of other infrastructure during the physical assessment.
The assessors for physical inspection will be selected using a randomisation software.
To increase transparency and ensure that medical colleges have adequate faculty and patients throughout the year, the National Medical Commission introduced ways of monitoring the colleges remotely throughout the year. Along with the AEBAS, medical colleges are required to share their Health Management Information System (HMIS) data that captures how many patients are treated at the hospital and a live feed from several CCTV cameras placed at key locations such as the entrance of the outpatient clinics.
A live feed from the cameras is received and stored at a control room within the NMC office in Delhi.
During the routine checks conducted before the beginning of new MBBS session, several colleges received show cause notices or were derecognised because they did not adhere to the AEBAS system, among others. Most of the colleges corrected the deficiencies and were allowed to take in students.
The move, experts say, was essential seeing the increase in the number of medical colleges in the country, making it difficult to conduct physical inspection all the time. “The pipeline dream would be to have no need for physical inspections at all, but this will supplement the physical assessments for now,” said a senior official.