New Delhi: Gone are the days when studying medical courses belonged to highly intelligent with good marks and of course the rich. But with new avenues coming up and average standard of living changed, becoming doctor has become comparatively much easier.
The admissions into medical courses have also become much easier provided students and their parents are ready to explore avenues overseas. In this context, the Philippines has emerged the latest craze — with Indian students making beeline for admissions into various medical colleges in that country.
“The Doctor of Medicine (MD) courses in the Philippines is recognized and approved as an equivalent course to the MBBS by the Medical Council of India…the Philippines have good English speaking society and faculty and it offers a decent interface with the western world. These are few great advantages of studying in the Philippines,” says Amritanshu Thakur, a Kota-based medical student from Rajasthan.
On an average 7 out of 10 applications received by the Philippines Embassy in Delhi for Visa relates to ‘medical students’.
Another major reason for the Philippines based institutes to attract students from India is cost-effectiveness.
“Compared to expenditures in India for a medical student, it is much economical in the Philippines. On average, private medical college admission demands capitation fees of about Rs 30-40 lakh and then expenditures of average Rs 10 lakh a year. But in the Philippines, if the student gets through the pre-medical course test, full stream course expenditures are much less,” says Avtar Singh from Punjab – who has decided this year to send his son for the course at AMA Medical College in Manila.
“Moreover travel time to Manila on average from major Indian cities is 8 to 10 hours with air links,” says Thakur.
Earlier this year in June-July, sources in Indian embassy in Manila said more than 8,000 Indians study science and medicine in the Philippines this year. Among them, the maximum, around 4,500, are in Davao Medical School Foundation (DMSF), Davao, southern Philippines. Davao is also the native city of the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte — whose government has also initiated measures to attract Indian tourists as well as students from India in medical and also in other colleges.
“There are several medical colleges in the Philippines which all are regulated by the Philippines government’s Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and that follows US education system focusing on core development of each student that incorporates theories, practical, technology, research videos and problem dealing. Overall its productive course,” says student Amritanshu Thakur.
He says as socio-economic conditions of Philippines is “pocket-friendly” — Indians have able to feel more “at home”.
“There are glimpses of northeast India’s culture. Even in food habits, you may feel you are in Shillong or in Manipur. The Filipinos are great hosts, incredibly polite. All these help,” says another medical student Kawaldeep Raina, who stays near Buendia locality in Manila.
The hostel facilities, paying guests lodges and palatable food also convince Indian students that they can stay on in the Philippines and take advantages of the courses. Moreover, the expanding presence of Indian businesses and growing domestic tourist inflows make them feel at home.
“Compared to studying in Australia, things are easy here. No racism or hatred incidents have been reported in last few years,” says an Indian shopkeeper in Buendia area.
However, there ought to be precautions too – say students and also officials in the Indian embassy in Manila.
“There are touts and self-styled agents operating in places like Delhi and Hyderabad who mislead prospective students. Hence, there is a need for the double check,” says medical student Amritannshu Thakur.
He explains it well: “In the Philippines, no one can be enrolled directly in MBBS. Most of the time students and parents are misled.
According to norms here, a student first has to get admission in a 18-month long pre-medical course. This is followed by a National Medical Test (NMT) and here students have to score over 50-55 percent, and otherwise, you are sent back”.