PUNE: If the Union ministry of health and family welfare’s department of Ayush has its way, Secondary School Certificate (SSC, Std X) pass students will soon have the option of going in for a seven-and-a-half-year degree course in ayurveda medicine.
The Central Council for Indian Medicine (CCIM), which regulates studies in Indian medicines, ie ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (Ayush), has cleared a proposal for introduction of an optional post-SSC degree course in ayurveda during its executive committee meeting held in New Delhi recently.
Speaking to TOI on Friday, CCIM member Suhas Parchure said, “The new course is proposed to be introduced from academic year 2010-11. It will have a two-year pre-ayurveda component featuring one ayurveda subject and six subjects in basic sciences (physics, chemistry, zoology and botany), english and computer studies.”
“A separate common entrance test (CET) at the post-SSC level has been proposed for the new course,” he said.
As of now, admissions to the regular five-and-a-half-year ayurveda degree course (BAMS) in the state are done through the Maharashtra Health & Technology – Common Entrance Test (MHT-CET), which is conducted at the post-HSC (Std XII) level. The association of private unaided ayurveda colleges also conducts a separate CET for the admission purpose.
Parchure said, “The push for the post-SSC degree course has come from the department of Ayush as part of its strategy to promote a liking for ayurveda studies among students at an early age.”
The department is now expected to publish the new course plan in the gazette to invite suggestions and objections from different states over a period of 90 days. A final gazette notification for launch of the course will be issued after this process is completed.
However, the move has not gone down well with a section of the CCIM members, especially those from Kerala and Maharashtra, who have registered their strong opposition to the post-SSC degree course on several grounds.
“A similar degree course in ayurveda was experimented with between 1975 and 1982 but the same had to be withdrawn as the course found few takers,” said Parchure, who is also president of the Association of Private Unaided Ayurveda Colleges in Maharashtra.
He said, “We have been struggling for long to ensure that ayurveda is given a status equivalent to the MBBS (medical) degree course. As such, a post-SSC degree course does not fit in the scheme of things. Plus, where is the need for a pre-ayurveda component when only one ayurveda subject is proposed to be taught ? The remaining subjects are always part of the regular Std XII studies.”
From the colleges’ point of view, the new optional degree course entails development of additional infrastructure like laboratories for teaching basic sciences subjects. “Already, there are issues about inadequate infrastructure at the regular ayurveda degree course colleges,” said Parchure.
The CCIM has, in fact, recommended that 153 ayurveda colleges across the country should not be allowed to admit students for AY 2010-11 owing to their failure to meet norms such as infrastructure and teaching faculty, he said. “Maharashtra accounts for 33 of these colleges,” he added. There are a total of 63 government-run, aided and private unaided colleges in the state. The department of Ayush is to take a final call on allowing admissions at the 153 colleges, said Parchure.