52 years on..

More than half a century since independence, our medical education has slipped from being on par with the British standard to one that struggles with world wide recognition. From a drain of valuable talents to dubious admission criterias, the credibility of local medical schools has taken a battering. Moreover, every year, we loose bright young medical graduates to other countries. Malaysia it appears is no longer a preferred destination.

I can think of many faults but here are the challenges. As of now, we have about 27 medical schools in Malaysia both public and private, with more to come. This is excluding those that were fully trained in other countries. Many of these schools, notably private ventures, were set up with the noble aim of improving our doctor patient ratio. Such an influx of students into the system has resulted in a relative shortage of lecturers as many attempt to lynch them from other institutions with the lure of cash and perks in most instances. As a result, the strength of the academic teams in each of these medical schools are diluted with the end result being a lower standard of medical education.

Keeping track of the curriculum is almost an impossible task and uniformity is certainly not practised. Graduating doctors thus show differing standards and competency. Perhaps one way of unifying this diversity in medical education is to introduce a licencing examination where all graduating students are required to pass in order to practise in Malaysia.

The Government should not issue any further licenses for medical schools. We should aim to attract talents to our current ones in order to strengthen the academia. I feel they should do more thorough background checks on aspiring medical schools to ensure their abilities to teach medicine. Existing schools should be regularly accredited so as to maintain a high quality of medical education in Malaysia.

As of now, medical graduates have deteriorated in quality. We are flooding the system with many individuals which are inept and ill-equipped in handling the rigors of practising medicine. 52 years on and we have ourselves to blame for the deteriorating standards of medical education.

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