The bone of contention lie in the disparity in course duration – allied health courses offered by universities outside the State are three-and-a-half-year long, whereas those conducted by the Kerala University of Health Sciences have a duration of four years.
Academic equivalency norms, which have bothered numerous job aspirants in Kerala, have begun to pose problems for paramedical graduates from institutions elsewhere including All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) and Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER).
The bone of contention lie in the disparity in course duration – allied health courses offered by universities outside the State are three-and-a-half-year long, whereas those conducted by the Kerala University of Health Sciences (KUHS) have a duration of four years.
As a result, graduates of programmes having immense job potential such as B.Sc. Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT), Anaesthesia Technology and Renal Dialysis Technology are required to obtain equivalency certificates from KUHS in line with the Paramedical Council of Kerala norms for placements in government hospitals and to pursue post graduation in Kerala. Making matter worse, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been insisting for the registration certificates issued by the Paramedical Council of late.
Allied Health Science Students and Professional Association India state president, Khaleel Mohammed estimated around 30,000 Keralites complete paramedical courses from other States annually. “While a majority used to seek jobs abroad to repay their education loan dues, the door to such possibilities is shut. Unable to find postings in government hospitals that pay around ₹ 15,000, many are now forced to be content with private hospitals that pay half that amount,” he said.
They could not even apply for the contract jobs offered to tackle the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Calling the denial of equivalency unjust, Kerala State Higher Education Council vice chairman Rajan Gurukkal pointed out that prior to KUHS’ establishment, Kannur, Calicut and MG Universities used to issue equivalency certificates despite the difference in course duration since the curricula and syllabi were found to be same. Furthermore, the UGC has prescribed only three years as part of its model curriculum for the B.Sc. MLT programme.
“Paradoxically, KUHS used to recognise such degrees for employment in affiliated colleges until 2017. Many teachers who currently taught paramedical students in Kerala had completed the three-and-a-half-year courses. The present disapproval is sheer discrimination without any academic justification,” Prof. Gurukkal said.
KUHS Vice Chancellor Mohanan Kunnummal, however, said the contents of the courses are dissimilar. The Academic Council, which had deliberated the issue earlier, will take the matter up for discussion yet again.
According to him, academic programmes of varying duration cannot be considered equivalent. He also opined the university should ideally have no role in deciding if a graduate is fit for a particular job. “But, if the government wants us to frame eligibility criteria, we will definitely provide an expert opinion,” Dr. Kunnummal said.