FAQ’s for Indian students wishing to pursue medical education in the Philippines.
Philippines continues to be an attractive destination for Indian students wishing to pursue medical education. However, before getting admission to a medical college, a few pointers in the form of FAQ’s listed below would be useful for Indian students. Kindly note that the FAQ’s are purely advisory and students are advised to exercise due diligence by checking the latest updates/rule position from Commission of Higher Education. (www.ched.gov.ph)
How do I know which are the recognised medical colleges to apply in the Philippines? The Commission of Higher Education ( CHED), which is the nodal agency looking after higher education, publishes the list of medical colleges recognised by them, both state run and private. The list is available in our website under Education icon (www.indembassymanila.in) Out of the recognised medical colleges, one of the college SWU-MHAM recently split with SWU owing to differences in management and is embroiled in a judicial dispute. ( see our advisory in website). Till the issue is resolved between them, it is advisable not to seek admission in the said college. Do I rely on educational consultants/agents who are advertising for the medical course in India? Kindly note that a majority of complaints from Indian students pursuing BS/Medicine received by the Embassy relate to the dubious role played by such agents. The problem is further compounded as the agents delegate or engage subagents in recruiting students. Most of the complaints relate to the mismatch between what has been promised in India and what they actually get in the Philippines. These include false promises being made to the students, giving an inaccurate picture of the medical system in the Philippines, overcharging, withholding information on fee structure, duration of course, visas etc. As mentioned in our Advisory in the website, it is advisable that students engage the colleges directly by email as most of the colleges have a website in English and with English as the main language for communication, a prospective student should not have problems in ascertaining the right information.
Can I be admitted to the medical course after I complete my 10+2 in India? Kindly note that all students who pass out 12th grade from India have to enrol for BS course which runs for about three semesters ( about one and half years to two years-depending upon how you attain the credits) before they are eligible to take the NMAT test and enrol for MD course. The BS course is basically a degree course mandatory for getting admission to MD course. Only once you undergo the BS course and get through the NMAT exam, you are admitted to the MD course ( MBBS). This is an important point as the educational agents in India often do not give a full picture to the students who are made to believe that they are going to get admitted to a medical course directly. Kindly note that undergoing BS course and getting a competitive score in NMAT exam is a pre-condition for medical course. We understand that a minimum 40 percentile in NMAT is the passing score but largely depends upon different colleges to prescribe the score which may be higher than 40%. We also understand from students here that NMAT is a tough competitive exam. Another important point not clarified to prospective students in India is that as per extant rules in the Philippines, there is a quota fixed for seats for foreign students which is one third of the enrolment. Generally Universities have different departments like medicine, engineering, arts course etc and while the Universities may satisfy the benchmark of one third foreign students as a whole, it needs to be checked whether the medical college by itself has the necessary infrastructure or the faculty to take more students. As of now, our feedback from students is that the colleges ( mostly private colleges) in partnership with the educational agents enrol more students in the BS course, sometimes in excess of four to five times over their capacity in the medical college. In other words, if a college has a capacity of inducting 200 seats for foreign students, they enrol roughly about 800 students in the BS course. How they will accommodate the extra students when they do not have the capacity in terms of infrastructure/faculty is a grey area and therefore students are expected to cross check this aspect thoroughly on whether the college has the required capacity in terms of infrastructure/faculty and that their admission to BS course will ultimately lead to an assured admission in the medical course. NMAT exams are conducted twice a year.Some colleges also prescribe a shorter BS course ( two semester or one year). This needs to be carefully checked if it is in consonance with CHED guidelines.
Why do I need to do a BS course before joining the MD course? In Philippines the present education system for their nationals is 10 + 4 where the school education finishes after ten followed by a BS course for four years which is a degree course. After completion of 14 years they are admitted to MD course if he/she wishes to pursue medicine. An Indian student who has studied in India under 10+2 system therefore needs to do the BS course before enrolling for MD. However, some additional credits for the BS course are given for +2 which the Indian student has done and the remaining credits of the BS course have to be obtained during the three semesters before he is granted a BS degree. Thereafter he is eligible for MD course. In short an Indian student does a BS + MD course of 1.5-2 yrs approx and 4 years respectively. The system is expected to ease out in the coming years as Philippines is also switching over to 10+2 system.
What are the websites which I should check before getting considering admission in the Philippines? The websites of Indian Embassy is a must. Other websites which need to be checked is the Medical Council of India website especially on the screening regulations for Indian nationals having foreign medical degrees. The MCI site also mentions about an eligibility certificate before embarking for studies abroad. The Commission of Higher Education (CHED) website should also be seen as they are the governing body regulating Higher Education in the Philippines.
Are the medical institutions in the Philippines recognised by MCI? Kindly note that medical institutions in the Philippines are recognised by their own nodal agency which is CHED. With regards to MCI, the screening regulations mention the procedure for students who have pursued medical degrees abroad.I heard there are visa issues being faced by Indian students in the Philippines.This is one more point generally not disclosed fully by the educational agents. Generally prospective Indian students should proceed to the Philippines on a Student visa which is granted by the Philippine Embassy in India. However due to easier accessibility, most students prefer to come on a tourist visa and then convert their visa into student visa in the Philippines which is generally the responsibility of the college concerned. The procedure for converting visa is time consuming and takes about 2 months as it is centralised in Manila. We have received complaints from students that educational agents sometimes retain the passport and charge exorbitant fees for immigration procedure from the students.
What points should I look out for while browsing the medical school website? Generally all medical schools have their own Director for foreign students. It would be useful to engage him/her on email. The admission process, fee structure, faculty, duration of BS course, their quota for MD seats, visa issues, payment of fees directly to the Institute by bank transfer, hostel and mess facilities, law & order, banking facilities etc should be queried to your satisfaction.I heard that some of the colleges have educational agents through which applications for admission is accepted.Prospective students should be careful in choosing educational agents and try to get admission directly wherever possible. If he, however, chooses to risk by engaging an educational agent, he should atleast take care that the agent’s role is limited in completion of formalities in India viz visa, ticketing etc and initial facilitation for getting admitted to college. Here, the student should take care that fees are directly remitted to the concerned medical college and in no case handed over to the agent. There have been complaints from Indian students here that they have handed over the entire money for the course to the agent who did not subsequently deposit it with the college. In other words, if a student does engage an agent, he should see that the agent’s role is limited in only facilitating initial admission and he does not have any further role after admission in the fee structure or visa related issues.
What are the formalities I should do after I complete my medical degree? After you complete your degree, the first thing is to authenticate the educational documents through your college, CHED, Consular wing of Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines. The authentication process is called the “Red Ribbon’ process. After this procedure is complete, the certificates have to be presented in original to the Indian Embassy for further counter attestation.Once you arrive in India, copies of documents are submitted to state MCI’s who subsequently send it to the Embassy again by post for re-verification.
How can social media help you? Students studying in the Philippines are encouraged to use Social Media to share your experiences and our Embassy face book ( www.facebook.com/IndiaInPhilippines) can be a forum which will be useful for prospective students seeking admission in the Philippines. Alternatively, Indian students in the Philippines can create a Facebook account to address the concerns of Indian students by posting useful blogs on their experiences. Students are encouraged to have a healthy interaction with the Embassy by participating in Embassy functions and contribute in presenting India’s image abroad.