- Medical colleges to reopen on 13 September
- Practical classes every day for first, second and fifth year students
- In-person practical classes to be taken through forming small groups
- Theoretical classes to be held online
Government and private medical colleges will hold practical classes every day from 13 September for the first, second and fifth year students with the aim to recover learning losses caused by closure of colleges due to the Covid-19 pandemic since March 2020.
In the pre-Covid period, the medical colleges conducted practical classes for two or three hours a week for first and second year students. Fifth year students were scheduled to engage in practical work for four hours every day.
The new strategy, called "Remedial Package", will increase the daily work hours and help students reach expected competencies in practical knowledge.
Professor Dr Md Titu Miah, principal of Dhaka Medical College, told The Business Standard that the 1st year (2020-21 session), second year (2019-20 session) and fifth year (2016-17 session) students under MBBS courses have completed the theoretical classes online. But they missed the practical classes.
"We will concentrate on practical classes and that is why we will take the classes through forming small groups. We will try to recover the students' losses within a short time," he said.
"All government and private medical colleges will follow the same remedial packages protocols," he added.
The Health Ministry has decided that classes for all medical colleges and other medical institutions will begin on 13 September.
The colleges have also planned to take in-person practical classes every day and theoretical classes through online platforms. The students will be divided into small groups and imparted practical knowledge closely.
Sources at the Directorate General of Medical Education (DGME) have said that the department has directed the medical colleges to concentrate on practical classes and prepare routines in line with its instructions.
The first and second year students need pre- clinical practical knowledge which they can learn at laboratories only. The fifth year students need direct practical knowledge which they can learn from hospitals directly.
Dr AHM Enayet Hussain, director general of DGME, told TBS that the medical colleges had been directed to find out ways on how to recover the learning losses of the students. "We have selected the sessions basically considering the practical classes. I think the colleges will recover the gap," he said.
"The physical presence of students in classes is necessary for medical education. Otherwise we will face a lack of skilled doctors. Students in medical education must visit patients. The fifth year students will visit non-Covid patients at first. Then they will go to Covid patients as well, maintaining health protocols," he added.
Around 1.5 lakh students are studying at different government and private medical colleges and nursing institutes. Their onsite education has remained halted for one-and-a-half years due to Covid-19 restrictions, although online classes have continued.
Meanwhile, health experts have hailed the government's decision to reopen the medical colleges and appreciated its move regarding remedial packages.
Prof Dr Nazrul Islam, noted virologist and former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, told TBS that it is a good decision that the medical colleges will concentrate on practical classes.
"It is possible to take theoretical classes online, but in medical education students' presence is a must for practical learning," he said.
Who will take part in classes from 13 September?
The Health Ministry has published a guideline and routine for in-person classes to commence at all medical colleges in the country.
According to the published class routine, the students of 1st year (2020-21 session), second year (2019-20 session) and fifth year (2016-17 session) under MBBS courses will take part in classes every day.
The students of 1st year (2019-20 session), second year (2018-19) and last year (2016-17 session) under BDS courses will attend the classes.
The 3rd and 4th year students of Basic BsC in Nursing courses and 2nd and 3rd year students under Diploma in Nursing and Midwifery of Nursing Institute or Colleges can attend classes every day.
The 1st year (2019-20) and 2nd year (2018-19) students under Diploma coruses, 1st year (2019-20) under BSC (Lab), 1st year (2019-20) under BSC Radiology and Imaging, and 2nd year (2018-19) and 4th year (2016-17) under BSC Physiotherapy from Institute of Health Technology will be allowed to join the classes.
1st year and 3rd year students from Medical Assistant Training School, 1st year and last year from Unani or Ayurvedic Medical College, 3rd and 4th year students under BHMS and 1st and 4th year under DHMS from Homeopathic Medical colleges are allowed to attend the classes.
As per the guidelines, the hostels of the institutions must reopen for students three days before the classes begin, everyone must follow the strict health guideline, classes and times can be reduced and in-person and online classes are to be continued.
Instructions on taking vaccines to all teachers, students
85% of teachers, students and staff of the medical educational institutions were brought under Covid vaccination coverage, Directorate General of Health Services sources have said.
The Health Ministry has instructed the authorities of all medical educational institutions to complete the vaccination of the teachers, students and staff on a priority basis.