A group of foreign medical students alleged that India’s apex screening test for foreign doctors, conducted in December, consisted of “12 wrong or misspelled questions”.
The candidates sent a legal notice to the National Board of Examinations (NBE) alleging errors in the document and cited the “non-disclosure agreement” signed with the board as the reason for their failure to highlight the issue via platforms public.
The NBE is an umbrella body responsible for conducting mandatory screening tests for foreign-trained doctors called Medical Graduate Examinations Abroad (FMGE). These MBBS doctors are not allowed to practice in India unless they pass the exam. The success rate at the FMGE is very low and was 24% last year.
More than 10 foreign doctors, who appeared for the latest Overseas Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) on December 12, had sent the legal notice to senior Health Ministry officials, including the Minister of Health. Union Health, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya.
According to the legal notice, viewed by News18.com, “According to the observation of candidates/doctors (who) appeared for the FMG exam on December 12, 2021, several incorrect/erroneous/misspelled questions were framed.”
“There were few questions with multiple correct answers,” he added.
The notice was sent by Supreme Court Advocate Tarun Kumar Thakur on January 19. The notice, which was sent to Dr Minu Bajpai, Director of the National Examinations Council, as well as Dr Suresh Chandra Sharma, Chairman of the National Medical Commission, apart from other officials faulted the NBE for not having published reference books and not having published the answer key to help candidates.
The group of doctors claimed to have double-checked the questions and found that several questions had spelling errors for which “candidates have evidence of such questions.”
The copy of the evidence was submitted to the Department of Health and the NBE. These candidates double-checked their answers from available books such as Harrison, DC Datta, Tripathi, and CDC.
“The National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences has not published any books for the preparation for the FMGE, while the candidates for the writing examination have discovered that there are several questions with multiple answers. These answers, the candidates checked after the exam with reference to guidelines from Harrison, DC Datta, Tripathi and CDC.
The notice further points out that NBE, after several days of review and “after receiving requests/complaints/appeals from numerous FMGE candidates”, has still not issued a notification acknowledging the wrong/erroneous/misspelled questions.
“NBE should make the right decision in favor of FMG applicants (show answer keys/paper question or upload to website), for the sake of justice,” he said.
Ministry leads deliberations, NBE has yet to acknowledge mistakes
The Department of Health official confirmed receipt of the notice and said: ‘Work is ongoing. If the candidates are proven correct, the points will be awarded.
“The office of Dr Bharti Pawar (Minister of State for Health) received the letter and arranged a meeting with NBE on 12th February. However, so far NBE has not acknowledged the errors in the document of questions,” a source in the Department of Health told News18.com.
“The students submitted the proof of answers and a representation to the Minister. Further deliberations will take place as soon as possible. »
The notice clarified that despite the flaws in the questionnaire, the candidates did not publicize the discrepancy in the document given the non-disclosure agreement that foreign doctors had to sign before taking the FMG exam. Therefore, they directly informed the relevant authority to take urgent action.
“Candidates are familiar with the National Examination Board’s Non-Disclosure Agreement…”
Regulations by NBE do not allow students to chat or talk about the exam on social media or even with relatives.
“…According to the newsletter (in the non-disclosure agreement), clause 9.8 states that “no content of this review shall be shared with friends, acquaintances or parties, including the sharing via online means or via social networks”.
“Social media includes but not limited to SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Hangouts, blogs, etc. using either own account or proxy accounts.”
“In relation to Information Bulletin clause 9.8 above, applicants are required to give direct information to the relevant authority regarding incorrect/erroneous/misspelled questions.”
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