My last blog entry on 17/02/2014 received the highest number of views in a single day since it started, 4 years ago. It achieved 11 195 views in a single day!! This goes to show that there are many who are worried about the situation. I also received few emails and blog comments from students who are doing medicine elsewhere without the minimum requirement introduced by MMC in 2011. It is very sad that our society is still a very ignorant society. Some of them are not even aware of the guideline! Are we leaving in caves? With the information technology, there is no excuse! I would blame it on our education system!
When I read some of the comments and emails, I realize that there are many who are doing medicine with pathetic SPM results. Majority do not understand what medicine is all about. With many dubious and mediocre medical schools out there, getting an MBBS degree is as easy as any other course. What you need is just money!! Money talks! How many students who go to Russia ever failed their 5 years medical course? We have heard and seen many mediocre students doing medicine in Russia as well as in some other universities in Indonesia, China and Eastern European countries. I know one who got 9Fs in SPM but was doing medicine in Ukraine! Some of the comments that I received in my last blog entry just proved the scenario. The poor entry qualification is one of the main reasons why you see graduates with poor quality from Russian universities ( the talk of the town). On another note, there are good students who go to Russia, as they could not afford any of the local medical colleges. These students generally do much better when they start working. I have heard horror stories of what actually goes on in some of the medical schools!! The fact that they do not even know how to take history and examine the patient, tells you a lot. The very basic reason why you go to a medical school !
Many were tricked by agents who promised guaranteed job, similar to what happened to thousands of nurses. They were told that as long as they have a MMC recognized degree, they would get a job when they return. Well, it is true at the moment but not anymore. With limited number of post within the next 2 years, having a MMC recognized degree does not mean anything. Having a degree, which is registrable by MMC, does not mean you will get a job. It is the same in any other country. In Malaysia, job is given by SPA and Ministry of Health. MMC only provides Temporary MMC registration for you to undergo Housemanship.
With so many dubious Foundation programs organized by many universities as a “short-cut” to attract students into their medical school, MMC had no choice but to introduce the minimum requirement based on SPM results in addition to pre-university results (only A level, STPM and few other courses can supersede)!! We are probably one of the very few countries in the world, which do not use a standardised pre-university qualifications as a sole requirement. I would rather prefer if MMC makes a few well-known Pre-U courses as the minimum requirement, such as STPM, A-Level, IB, Australian Matriculation etc etc. As far as I am concerned, Foundation studies SHOULD NOT be used as an entry qualifications into medical course. Not only it is NOT standardized but prepared and marked by the university itself!! Whatever said, you need certain level of intelligence to do medicine. You may not need to be a A-star student but at least the top 5-10% of the cohort. Medicine is not for any tom, dick and harry. That having been said, you also need genuine interest and passion to function as a good doctor.
Since the minimum requirement was introduced in 2011, all students accepted into local private medical schools have to submit their results to MMC for verification. The universities will do this. However, despite this I have heard and seen many students being accepted into medical schools locally without the minimum requirement. The students are accepted and subsequently asked to appeal to MMC. When Crimea Medical University was derecognized in 2005, the NOC was introduced. The government noticed that there are students who have very poor SPM/STPMresults, from Arts stream and even those who fail SPM, were doing medicine in Crimea. Unfortunately, there are still many students out there who are doing medicine WITHOUT NOC. This is simply because, they were told that as long as they have a recognized degree, it is not a problem.
Sad to say, the situation will change soon. Last year’s MMC’s guideline clearly says that those who do medicine in an unrecognized university without minimum requirement, will NOT be permitted to sit for the MQE exams. This basically means that you can forget about practicing medicine all together in this country. You can try to get a job in another country where your degree might be recognized.
When the job market gets saturated, the government will become choosy as any other profession in civil service. Preference will be given to government-sponsored students and local public university graduates. This will be followed, by the rest. With limited number of post available, what criteria will SPA use to offer employment? This is where your NOC will come into force. Very likely that those who do not have NOC or the Minimum entry criteria will be the last choice to be offered a job. You may end up jobless as there will be almost 6-7,000 graduates/per-year by 2017.
Obviously, there is no law to do this but getting a post in civil service is a privilege and not a must. The only problem in medicine is the fact that if you do not do housemanship, you will not be able to practise as a doctor in this country. Thus, MOH is working on a few formulas to decide on who will get a job in MOH in the future. With the civil service being controlled by almost 90% from a single race, the people as well as the politicians will make transparency and biasness as an issue. So, we need to come up with fair and transparent criteria.
Over the last few months, many suggestions are being discussed at MOH level. The first suggestion is to give housemanship post on contract basis, after which you need to sit for an exit exam. The exit exam as well as your superior’s assessment will be used to decide who will get a MO post. Basically, you need to reapply into government service after Housemanship. What happens to those who fail? Obviously, you may not be able to work as a doctor or may need to redo housemanship.
The latest suggestion, which is seriously being considered, is the common entry/licensing exam or MMLE. Many countries as well as many other professions do this. Even our nursing board has exams similar to this. The lawyers have CLP but they can still work as legal adviser without CLP. For me, this will be the best option. MMLE should include all graduates including the local public and private universities. It should be standardized and centralized by MMC unlike the current MQE exams. Only those who pass will be able to get a job. This will definitely remove the mediocre ones as long as it is fair and transparent. Unfortunately, this was suggested by our ex ex DG (Tan Sri Dato Dr Ismail Merican) but was shot down by cabinet due to political reasons!! In Malaysia, education is always politicized!
So, for those students who do not have the minimum criteria, please do some other course. This is my advise to you. Firstly, unless you do well in a well established, standardized Pre-U course, you do not qualify to do medicine. Secondly, with the soon to be surplus of doctors, your chances to get a job in Malaysia will be slim. Finally, do not waste your parent’s money. Put that money to good use. I would also like to advise parents that they should not force their child to do medicine and please do not ask your child with mediocre results to do medicine. You are committing a crime to the society. I have seen enough mistakes being done by the current generation of doctors, life threatening mistakes that I have hardly seen before. It clearly shows the deteriorating quality of doctors in our community. We do not want to see students with SPM results like below to do medicine. In “real and genuine” medical schools, they will not even survive the first year. I am not saying that all good grade students will become good doctors but you need certain level of intelligence to do medicine coupled with passion and genuine interest.
FYI, the SPM result below is a Russian graduate who applied for Master’s program. A friend of mine who were interviewing them sent it to me!! She got a shock of her life when she saw the result!! Obviously, this student would not have got a NOC based on the current criteria. Obviously, she may not get a Master’s seat, as the competition is getting tougher.
Our ignorant society needs a wake up call……………………