Medical Education Reform

Medical Education ReformMedical Education Reform

As part of medical education reforms, the Health Ministry increased the capacity of all medical universities by 30% in the Iranian year that ended on March 19, and allotted the additional seats only to local applicants in a bid to support medicos to start medical practice in their hometowns.

“The measure was taken to encourage young people to study and work in their hometowns or close by, as it is seen that many students don’t return to their native place or provinces after completing their studies in Tehran and or other big cities,” Hamid Akbari, educational deputy at the ministry, said on the sidelines of the National Medical Education Conference, held recently at Tehran’s Razi International Conference Center.

Pointing to the increasing demand for medical science graduates, he said in the current year, the total annual admission capacity of all medical sciences universities in Iran has been increased from the previous 32,000 to 40,000 students now.

In general medicine (major), the medical specialty dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of adult diseases, the capacity of universities has increased from 4000 students earlier to 5000 at present. The other fields of study include: gynecology, microbiology, biotechnology, dentistry, pharmacy and nursing among others.

Prior to the implementation of the Health Reform Plan in April 2014 several provinces had a shortage of physicians. The problem has been resolved partly through incentives for doctors working in remote and disadvantaged areas, IRNA quoted him as saying.

  Strict Regulations

Stating that the ministry has set strict conditions for approval of degree certificates in medical programs issued by foreign universities to Iranians, he said, “From the beginning of the year 2017, only graduates with an average score equivalent to 75% can apply for accreditation of their academic certificates by the Health Ministry.”

At present, about 10,000 Iranian students are studying overseas in different medical universities; however academic certificates issued by all the universities are not considered valid in Iran, the official noted

Further, the rule that all dental and medical graduates from foreign universities should be assessed by a national test and undergo an additional two-year study program upon their return, still holds.

Graduates in medical, dentistry and pharmacy programs from universities in the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Malaysia, Turkey and Philippines are said to be the most problematic in medical education assessment. The ministry reviews quality of education and validity of foreign universities before granting approval or de-recognition of the passing certificates.

Akbari pointed to the virtual school of Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS) established recently. Virtual courses for a limited number of majors including medical librarianship, e-learning in medical education, and MBA in pharmaceutical management are offered to a specific number of applicants who cannot attend university. The final goal is to provide e-learning in the virtual school to applicants of nearly all majors who can’t attend regular university.