How mushrooming of medical colleges across the country have led to faculty crunch – Times of India | IIT EXPERT



After the Parliamentary Standing Committee report published in February 2024 that highlighted severe faculty shortages in medical colleges across the country, several medical associations have highlighted the problems arising in medical colleges due to a lack of faculty. As per the Ministry of Health, the recommended teacher-student ratio must be 1:2 or 1:3, but the situation is said to be far worse.
Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) have recently complained to the higher authorities regarding the deteriorating quality of medical education due to the lack of quality teachers in colleges. The Parliamentary report also invoked concerns about the overall quality of education, pointing to the criticality of the shortage of teachers, demanding immediate attention and reforms by the government.
The faculty shortage in medical colleges in India is due to several reasons, including lack of appointment of teachers, inadequate infrastructure, the appointment of ghost faculty, lack of senior residents, and the reluctance of professors to meet the mandated attendance requirement.
Speaking to

Education Times

, a Health Ministry official says, “There is a huge faculty shortage in medical colleges across the country. The case is worse in district hospitals and the major problem is the lack of qualified and eligible teachers. MD/MS is the minimum eligibility for these positions, which means it would take at least 9-10 years to get to that level, but the salaries are much less for that post. A candidate must have at least eight years of experience after MD/MS to become a professor, including one year as a Senior Resident (SR), four years as an assistant professor, and three years as an associate professor. “ The government is keen to deal with multiple problems in all the medical colleges, which is a never-ending backlog. Considering the number of posts lying vacant, the government will require a minimum of three years to fill these posts,” adds the official.
NMC is assessing the medical colleges across the country. It will revoke the licence of medical colleges not adhering to the standards and guidelines regarding the appointment of faculty in a particular department,” says the official.

Need for speedy appointments

The problem of lack of faculty in medical colleges in rural areas. Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), recently pointed towards the shortage of postgraduate (PG) guides within the state medical education system. There is reportedly, a shortage of around 1000 assistant, associate professors and professors in Maharashtra government medical colleges.
In a recent letter to Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), Maharashtra, MARD wrote, “The faculty shortage has led to significant challenges for medical students pursuing MD/MS, adversely impacting their academic progress. As per our knowledge, there is a shortage of around 1000 assistant, associate professors and senior professors in all the Government Medical Colleges.”
“The role of PG guides is indispensable in shaping the academic and professional development of medical students pursuing MD/MS. These guides provide crucial mentorship, supervision, and support throughout postgraduate studies. However, the current shortage of qualified and available PG guides has resulted in several problems faced by students and has impacted their synopsis, thesis and research activities,” adds MARD.
Abhijit Rajesh Helge, president, MARD says, “The commissioner and director of DMER confirmed to speed up the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) recruitment.”
The medical colleges in Telangana are reportedly facing a 50% faculty deficit, while in West Bengal as many as 5000 medical professors are missing. To ensure attendance, the Parliamentary Committee has recommended regular inspection of medical colleges and introducing systems where students can report low attendance or ghost faculty. To improve quality, the Committee has also asked the NMC to focus on upskilling teachers by introducing relevant programmes and establishing a dedicated national institute for their training.

Major setback

The Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) wrote to the union health minister regarding the UPSC doctor enrolment in December 2023. “ As per the FORDA survey, about 3000-5000 faculty vacancies in medical colleges across the country. In Delhi itself, there are about 200 vacant seats. The government is not advertising for the vacant posts and reservation in the medical profession is a major roadblock behind filling up the vacancies. Often there are no reserved category candidates in the job posting. As a result, the seat has been vacant for years. Apart from this, the government is mostly hiring contractual medical staff. Eligible candidates are not showing interest as there is no job security and they are looking for permanent employment,” said Dr Aviral Mathur, president, FORDA.
Dr Partha Pratim Mandal, RMO, Anaesthesiology department, Calcutta Medical College said, “The super speciality and speciality departments in medical colleges across the state are worst hit due to faculty deficiency. Departments such as Radiology, Anaesthesiology, Paediatric Surgery, and Nephrology lack faculty staff.”
Most doctors in Bengal are not satisfied with their jobs due to random rural posting, bureaucratic lobbying and political syndicates. “The rural hospitals are worst hit due to this. If the government is planning to increase the number of medical colleges in the country with the existing infrastructure, it will just hamper the quality of medical education which has already degraded in recent years. The lack of quality professors has led to a drop in student attendance by 30% as the existing faculties are unable to retain the students,” says Dr Mandal. The situation is worse in district hospitals where the faculties are leaving their jobs disgruntled with their rural posting. Despite repeated requests to get posting in the vicinity of their hometowns, their pleas are unheard by the state health department,” adds Dr Mandal.
Dr Rohan Krishnan, national chairman, FAIMA, says, “Random opening of medical colleges without proper planning of hiring faculty is a major reason behind the shortage. There is about 50% deficiency of medical staff across the country. The government has changed the teacher-student ratio criteria several times to cater medical education to more students but that also did not help. Post-pandemic, the NMC has stopped doing physical inspections of medical colleges encouraging malpractices. Several private colleges have severe staff crises as they are not hiring. The staff shortage has affected the quality of doctors who are not hired anymore by foreign countries, which earlier was not the case. Medical streams such as Cardiology, Medicine where the doctors earn more out of private practice tend to enrol less in medical colleges as faculty, creating a shortage.” More doctors are needed in rural areas where the salary is dismal. The issue of pay parity is yet another reason for problems in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,” adds Dr Krishnan.





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