Upgraded MBBS Curriculum to Teach Ethics, Communication

The Medical Council of India finalised the new undergraduate MBBS curriculum, to be rolled out nationally from the next session starting August 2019. The Board of Governors have approved the document which revisits the 1997 syllabus in context of emerging diseases and scientific advances.

In a first, Indian medical students will be trained not just to be good clinicians but also good communicators. Further the new curriculum lays down expected outcomes and not just learning goals. The course will also introduces foundation course to ensure students transition well into other streams of medicine. In a major overhaul the new curriculum starts practical training from the first year and allows learning on medical mannequins.


For the first time, India’s MBBS curriculum acknowledges the importance of ethics, responsiveness to needs of patients and families and fine communication skills to engage the ailing. Dr VK Paul, MCI BOG chairman said that the new MBBS curriculum has a course called Attitude, Ethics and Communication (AETCOM) which will run across years. Students will be assessed for how they communicate with patients; how they counsel people for organ donations or other challenging procedures; how sensitively do they offer care and obtain consent. All these things will count along with competencies and skills.

“Another new element is the introduction of elective subjects. Now students can pick up subjects of choice and dedicated time has been allotted for self-directed learning and co-curricular activities,” Paul said.

According to the document the new UG curriculum regulations are more learner-centric, patient-centric, gender-sensitive, outcome-oriented and environment appropriate. The result is an outcome-driven curriculum which conforms to global trends. The new curriculum allows integration of subjects horizontally and vertically rather than the previous practice of teaching in silos. The curriculum also encourages skill based training and the use of skills labs, simulated and guided environments has been allowed for this purpose.



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