Though the Madhya Pradesh government has taken a path-breaking decision to start MBBS course in Hindi from the 2022-2023 academic session, experts in the medical field have expressed reservations over the move because of unavailability of quality books in the language on the subject.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan recently announced that from the new academic session, the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) course will be taught in Hindi at the Bhopal-based Gandhi Medical College (GMC) to first year students.
Currently, medical education is imparted only in English.
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Chouhan also announced that B-Tech degree and polytechnic diploma courses, in six colleges each, will be taught in the Hindi language as part of the National Education Policy (NEP) from July 2022.
MP’s unique initiative
State medical education minister Vishvas Sarang, the driving force behind the move, said Madhya Pradesh is the first state in the country to come out with the initiative to teach MBBS in Hindi.
“We are starting MBBS course in Hindi for the first time in the country. No other state is offering medical education in the mother-tongue…Madhya Pradesh is the first to do so,” he told PTI.
Sarang said textbooks, especially in physiology, anatomy and biochemistry, are being prepared in Hindi for students and they will be made available soon.
However, experts in the medical fraternity remain sceptical about the “MBBS in Hindi” move.
Former vice-chancellor of Indore-based Devi Ahilyabai Vishwa Vidyalaya (DAVV) and a senior pediatrician, Dr Bharat Chhaperwal, said, “I am not against imparting medical education in Hindi, but are quality textbooks with updated advancements in the field available for students?” Research articles published in quality medical journals like Lancet, British Medical Journal and New England Medical Journal, among others, take three to four years at least to find a place in textbooks, he said.
‘Not enough preparations’
Chhaperwal said he is not against Hindi, but as a medical professional he feels not enough preparations were made before announcing the decision. “Governments should leave this issue to professionals instead of deciding in which language medicine and surgery should be taught,” he said.
When pointed out that in many countries like Japan, Russia, China and France, medical education is being imparted in the mother tongue, Chhaperwal said in these nations an adequate number of quality textbooks are available in their native language, which is not the case in India.
The government has created a Hindi university in the state and tasked it with preparing MBBS textbooks in the widely spoken language, but this will not benefit pupils as such, especially tribals, he said. “If the government really wanted to transform the lives of tribals then it should start giving them quality education right from the beginning,” the former vice- chancellor remarked.
A senior Bhopal-based doctor, Pushpendra Sharma, who has done his MBBS and a course equivalent to MS Surgery from the Odessa State Medical University in Ukraine, said a lot of efforts will be required to make the move successful. “It is not such a simple task to start teaching MBBS in Hindi. The move requires a lot of preparations as medical terminologies need to be translated in Hindi first. It is a tough call,” he remarked.
Asked how some other countries are managing to impart medical education in their native language, Sharma said they had been doing so for ages and, therefore, have developed a rich course content for students.
A former director of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), speaking on the condition of anonymity, termed the decision as “unfortunate”, but did not elaborate.
BJP leader supports move
However, senior BJP leader and a doctor by profession, Dr Hitesh Bajpai, supported the move. “We are committed to provide technical education in the mother tongue of students. One should not be left behind because of any language,” he said.
Minister Sarang said textbooks for three subjects to be taught in the first year are being readied by a team of experts. “Books are being prepared in such a manner that technical terms like blood pressure, spine, heart, kidney, liver or other important body parts and related terms are written in Hindi,” he said.
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“We are preparing textbooks in such a manner that those studying MBBS in Hindi will not lag behind after completion of the course as they will be learning all the technical and medical terms in English as well in Hindi,” he added.
Sarang said in the first year only three subjects – physiology, anatomy and biochemistry – are mainly taught to students. “Our preparations are on for making the textbooks available in Hindi for students before the start of the course,” he said.