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Why is NMMTA protesting against the new guidelines from the National Medical Commission?

The National MSc Medical Teachers Association (NMMTA), which is a non-profit making professional body, has raised its voice against the new guidelines from the National Medical Commission (NMC) related to the appointment of Medical MSc/PhD teachers in medical colleges. The association has appealed in the Delhi High Court against the NMC and has also asked the Health Ministry to withdraw the guidelines.

According to the Teachers Eligibility and Qualifications (TEQ) guidelines of the erstwhile Medical Council of India (MCI), candidates with Medical MSc/PhD qualifications could be appointed as teachers in the five non-clinical specialities to the extent of 30% (50% in Biochemistry) of the total faculty strength, but the NMC made changes in it and halved the permissible percentage to 15% in Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry and completely removed it for Pharmacology and Microbiology disciplines.

The NMC had also clarified that the new guidelines would apply to all old and new medical colleges and they have to make appointments as per the new guidelines.

“With the new guidelines in place, the current faculties, especially in Pharmacology and Microbiology, would be forced to remain in the same job. One will have to remain in the same college until retirement, is sacked or forced to leave as all doors for appointments in other medical colleges have been closed. One will not be able to move to other locations for career or personal reasons. With no other prospects, these faculties could be subjected to a variety of harassments and denials of opportunities including promotions or salary hikes. This would be a serious human rights violation”, NMMTA President Dr Sridhar Rao said. He further said, “We are an important stakeholder in medical education and have been rendering our services for decades in medical education and diagnostic laboratories. Overnight reduction and cessation without due consultation or considerations are improper. Despite several representations and memoranda to the NMC explaining why the move is flawed, there has been no response. While we were able to meet the health secretary, NMC has neither replied nor agreed to meet us. There is panic and anxiety among our members as they are being denied promotions, extensions or opportunities to apply for teaching jobs. An unresponsive NMC is only adding to our miseries. With no option left, we are forced to protest”.

“Hundreds of such teachers are currently working on tenure or contract basis. Medical colleges are refusing to continue or renew their services citing the new guidelines. All of them would be rendered jobless. NMC’s statement that existing faculties wouldn’t be affected is untrue. Tutors, who have already put in four years are being denied promotions. A couple of teachers have already been sacked”, NMMTA General Secretary Arjun Maitra said.

“Over a thousand students, who are pursuing their 3-year Medical MSc courses in the 35-odd medical colleges across India, hoping to have a career in medical education have their opportunities vanished even before they complete their study”, said Dr Ayan Das, Joint Secretary representing Delhi.

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