Minimum Standard of Preliminary Education.
When the old school medical system was first taught in this country, in the premier medical college of Calcutta, there was not rule laid down in regard to any standard of preliminary education of the entrants; all that was required of them was a tolerable understanding of the English language to be able to follow the simple teachings of the Professor and the bed side clinical explanations. This was a century ago. Ever since that time the progress of the medical science has been advancing in rapid strides and it was found that some good elementary knowledge of Botany, Chemistry, Physics, Hygiene etc. was essential for the entrants to be able to grasp the progressive curriculum of medical study and the highly technical details of the instruments and methods of diagnostic precision.
At the European medical colleges and Research institutions a fair knowledge of Latin and Greek is also expected of the entrants, so that we find medical research workers coining their own technical words and terms for expressing their findings. It was therefore necessary here to raise the standard of preliminary education to the Intermediate Science standard, but in admitting the candidates those whose who passed in the first division with high marks get the first consideration, and preference is given to the Science graduates passing with distinction. And this is what it should be.
Concerning the medical schools under the State Medical Faculty the minimum standard of preliminary education has been determined at the Matriculation with science subjects and passing with high marks. But these schools are about to be elevated to the Colleges cadre in consequence of which the standard of preliminary education will be raised to I.Sc., and B.Sc. As things stand now, and in sharp contrast to the methods obtaining in the State Faculty of Homoeopathic Medicine, Bengal, candidates failing to pass, or not even sitting at the Matrication examination of the University, are not allowed admission, neither are they invited to sit at any “Entrance Examination” of its Council.
It is difficult to understand the reason for keeping the minimum standard of preliminary education for the State Faculty of Homoeopathic Medicine, Bengal, so lowly; it is difficult to understand any apology for introducing “Entrance Examination of the Council” ex curia when the University of Calcutta is chartered to hold, conduct and certify Entrance Examination, recently labelled Matriculation. While it may leaven the funds it certainly depreciates the intelligence value of the candidates in the market, thus lowering the homoeopathic medical profession in the estimation of the public.
In the last July number of this journal we presented the Diploma Examination Syllabus of the Faculty of Homoeopathy, London, for which the candidates must be fully qualified medical graduates entitled to practise medicine in Great Britain. This decides that Homoeopathic medical qualification is not a cheap, mediocre and easily purchasable lollipop. The syllabus clearly directs: “It is highly desirable that any candidate should have undergone a course of personal instruction in methods of adapting his theoretical knowledge to practical case work, i.e. by repertorial instruction.” It is conspicuous that evaluation of symptoms and repertorising are obscure in the syllabus prescribed by the General Council and State Faculty of Homoeopathic Medicine, Bengal.
If teaching institutions affiliated to the State Faculty of Homoeopathic Medicine aspire to be “Colleges” the standard of preliminary education should be raised to I.Sc. of a chartered University, the selection of candidates should be on the basis of highest marks secured at the examination, the usurpatory if not perfunctory test labelled “Entrance Examination” abolished, and a fifth-year course of study added for training in evaluation of symptoms, management of Chronic miasms and repertorising a stipulated number of indoor-cases with the aid of Boenninghausens Therapeutic Pocket Book (Roberts), Kents Repertory and Bogers Card Repertory. Every final year student should be advised and encouraged to possess a copy of Knerrs Repertory.
About three thousand registered Homoeopathic practitioners now appear on the roll, but they have no recognition in any Government or semi-government hospital or dispensary, neither in collieries not tea garden; they have no place in any concourse of the major medical fraternity. We should now cry halt, take stock and mend commissions and omissions. How long should we suffer Bengals Homoeopathy scoffed at?.