Friday, June 17, 2005

MMC Withdraws Recognition Of Ukrainan Medical Undergraduate Programmes

Quoted from BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA, June 16 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) has withdrawn recognition of the medical undergraduate programme offered by Ukraine's Crimea State Medical University (CSMU) to any students registered and admitted into academic year one after Dec 31, 2005.

MMC president Datuk Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said MMC also decided at its June 14 meeting not to recognise similar programmes offered by 10 other universities in Ukraine.

The MMC was concerned about the quality of medical training or education in Ukraine in producing safe and competent doctors to meet Malaysia's needs, he told a media conference Thursday.

The decision would not affect the current 1,119 medical undergraduates enrolled in various academic years in CSMU as the de-recognition would only apply to those admitted and registered after Dec 31, 2005, said Dr Mohd Ismail who is Director-General of Health.

Those pursuing the pre-medical foundation course would be eligible only if they were admitted and registered into the first academic year before Dec 31 this year.

"In other words, any CSMU undergraduates admitted and registered for academic year one and onwards before Dec 31, 2005 are eligible to register with the MMC upon their graduation.

"Those who register after Dec 31 must sit and pass the Medical Qualifying Examination stipulated under the Medical Act 1971 to be eligible for registration (with the MMC)," he said.

The CSMU was the first institution to be granted recognition by the MMC effective Aug 7, 2001. As of last month, 1,366 students are studying in CSMU -- 1,119 in various academic years and 247 others taking the pre-medical course.

Dr Mohd Ismail said that following numerous complaints, the authorities visited CSMU in October 2003 to verify them as well as the other 10 Ukrainian universities for the purpose of granting recognition.

They found some of the Malaysian students admitted into the medical undergraduate course were school drop-outs with very poor secondary school results.

The students were allowed to pursue the programme after passing the pre-medical foundation courses conducted by the Ukrainian universities.

"Their secondary school qualifications were never taken into consideration. Even arts stream secondary school drop-outs were allowed to pursue such courses," Dr Mohd Ismail said.

He said a study conducted on CSMU graduates working in the Health Ministry, and the feedback gleaned from their supervisors, revealed that the graduates' usage of English medical jargons was limited as they were more fluent and familiar with technical jargons in Ukrainian or Russian.

"Their jargons, being alien to our medical fraternity, may jeopardise the safety of our patients and well-being," he said.

The ability of the Ukrainian universities to provide teaching in English was doubtful as the number of English-speaking lecturers and facilities were insufficient to meet the demand from the sudden increase in the number of Malaysian students.

Dr Mohd Ismail said during the authorities' first visit in 2001, there were only 53 Malaysian students in CSMU, and the number jumped to 900 in 2003.

"The drastic increase in the number of student intake may inevitably compromise the quality of medical education," he said, attributing the spike to purely business considerations.

Not that the announcement bothers me much. It is more affecting the future of my friend who co-incidentally intends to go there this year, around September. And also a friend currently in Russia whose future may be uncertain as the institution may fall in the 'high risk' list to be dropped of by MMC. Only affecting those after 31st December 2005? So what? What about the current students there now? Do you think those Ah Gongs Ah Mas will give a damn whether the doctors from Ukraine enrol themselves before or after the dateline? OK, let's say the doctors who enrol before the dateline came back to practice their medicine in our beloved land, the Ah Gongs Ah Mas will be too fast to make conclusions that they are 'rejects' or 'kopi-o doctors'; not recognised by MMC. So, all practising doctor will have to put up signs like 'MBBS( Ukraine; enrolled before 31st December 2005-so don't worry Ah Gongs, Ah Mas, I'm still a good doctor) on their glass panels to regain the confidence in them?

This is another example of 'Kerana nila setitik, susu sebelanga rosak.' Thanks to the NEP's policy of mediocrity and absence of meritocracy , the increment of the enrolment of the 'nilas' was seen as a reason 'to increase the amount of professional in the country.' This is indeed very depriving for more deserving and enthusiastic students who had no choice but to choose Ukraine/Russia as the cost is cheaper there. Where could they go now if they still insist and cry a river still wanting to do Medicine?

MMC complained that those Russian/Ukraine's curriculum lacked English medical jargon as Latin is the main medium of instruction. Part of it may be true but what about Indon medical universities then? Their medium of instruction is Bahasa Indonesia, which is equally lack of English jargons? So why the double standard? OK, so one's is Mat Salleh's language and the other is our saudara's language, eh?

I wish all my aspiring doctor friends all the best and hope that they will see light at the end of the tunnel.

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