Quotas at medical school

AFTER two decades into our constitutional democracy, South Africa still applies the quota system to students seeking enrolment as health professionals at our various tertiary institutions.

This year, the Nelson R. Mandela Medical School received 6 945 new applications for only 250 medical seats.

The lowest-weighted academic average or threshold for Indian student applicants was 90,86%, white students 87,66%, black African students 83,16% and coloured students 75,5%.

The Nelson R. Mandela Medical School admits 69% black African students, 19%
Indians, nine percent coloureds, two percent whites and only one percent other students, annually.

Due to our quota system, many of our local students have left South Africa to study at medical schools in China, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ireland, Egypt, Mauritius, Pakistan and Scotland.

There are over 150 South African medical students studying in Mauritius.

A minimum of 70% for biology, physical science and mathematics is the eligibility criteria for a medical seat in those countries. Medical students leaving to study abroad are a definite loss to our country, economy and tax base — a brain drain on our impoverished and depleted health-care departments.

The admission criteria and quotas will determine the future quality of South African-trained doctors in our health-care system.

A medical student who gains admission via the quota system and passes with a credit of 51% in anatomy and later qualifies as a medical doctor does not know 49% of the
academic work on that anatomy exam
paper.

The limited number of first-year students admitted to medical school is due to the lack of local and national government funding, limited accommodation, poor facilities and a shortage of qualified lecturers and supervisors, who have emigrated to greener pastures.

South African universities are not producing enough doctoral students and research scientists annually.

This is also due to a lack of central government funding and foresight.

Therefore, South Africa cannot compete globally.

DEENA PADAYACHEE

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