Remember Murli Prasad Sharma’s jaadu ki jhappi in Munnbhai MBBS? Well, for a change, leading medical colleges of Bihar are now close to being full of them, at least, if it is a matter of age.
The big news is, medicos qualifying for the MBBS first year are already over the hill and by the time they passout , they may be closer to retirement.The big shift in the pattern of undergraduate students coming to medical colleges has been helped due to the government, not capping the upper age limit.
This year, for example, students as ‘young’ as 32 years of age have taken admission when the minimum age stipulated for admission in undergraduate medical course is 18 if one goes by the Bihar Combined Entrance Competitive Examination Board rules.
If principals of all the six medical colleges the HT spoke to are to be believed, the average age of undergraduate medicos is steadily going up every year. This year, the average age of medicos hovers around 26 years with the maximum age bar touching 30 in each of the six state-run medical institutions of Bihar.
While the ANMMCH in Gaya has admitted one of 32 years of age, the JLNMCH, Bhagalpur and the DMCH, Darbhanga have inducted students up to 31 years of age. At the PMCH, Patna, NMCH, Patna and the SKMCH, Muzaffarpur, the maximum age of students has crossed 30 years. HT has decided to withhold name of all such medicos. DMCH Principal Dr S N Sinha was critical of the changing trend. “If youth in the 30-plus age bracket take admission in undergraduate courses, I wonder how will they gel with some others who are just 18 years old. By the time they complete their graduation and post-graduation — add an average of 10 years — then they will be 40. Barring private practice, what else can they do then?” he wondered.
Dr Sinha also feared that Bihar was facing a brain drain and intelligent students were opting for either engineering or management studies. Professor in-charge of admission, PMCH, Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, said: “Earlier the induction, the better for students studying medicine. Young minds are always fertile. Besides, they will have time to pursue higher studies and research. The regulatory body should make an amendment so that young minds, with not more than three attempts at the entrance examination, make the grade.”
But then Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Munnabhai M.B.B.S. has shown that no one is over the hill if s/he has the fire in the belly to achieve something.