Posted on Monday, November 26, 2018
Texila American University (TAU), a medical education provider based out of Caribbean, Africa and UAE, recognised by the Medical Council of India (MCI) and other global institutions was started in 2012in Guyana. Brainchild of Coimbatore-based Saju Bhaskar, the university aims at providing advanced medical education with a reasonable fee structure. Bhaskar tells Education Times about the need for expanding medical education. Here are the excerpts:
How did TAU start and what were the challenges you faced?
A lot of struggles lead to the inception of TAU. I had enrolled in a Moscow medical academy in Russia in 1999 as I aspired to become a doctor. Unfortunately, financial problems forced me to dropout from the course in 2000, but the brief period was insightful. I got an exposure to overseas medical education. Gradually, I started my own consultancy, offering help tostudents aspiring to study abroad. After sometime, the then Guyanese education minister offered me to start a medical college in Guyana where local students can study medicine at nominal cost. With the help of Guyana Government, TAU was started in 2010. There has been no looking back since as out of 4000 students, we have over 800 international students in our campus.
What is your expansion plan for India?
We plan to roll out fellowship programmes in areas that have skill gaps and shortage of trained doctors. We have shortlisted fellowship programmes in 24 categories including Cardiac Emergencies (CCE), Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) to name a few. We have been conducting fellowship programmes in partnership with some prominent hospitals to give practical exposure to students. We also have short-term programmes for online distance courses while the fellowship programmes are conducted in hospitals.
What are the new projects in pipeline to support higher education?
We have quite a few projects in pipeline to support higher education not only in India but in other countries too. We plan to setup Texila Academy for Indian aspirants. This academy will provide free training and study material to students along with video lectures and webinars by eminent authors. We will also provide assistance in NEET preparations.
How useful is distance learning in medicine, as it requires a lot of hands-on experience?
Developed countries like the US, the UK offer a number of online programmes for doctors, for subjects that doesn’t require immediate practical expertise. We too are offering similar programmes at much lower fees which has attracted students from across the developing countries.
What is the university’s admission procedure and fee structure?
To enrol in any of our courses, a student must apply online and step-by-step follow the admission process. Shortlisting is on the basis of student’s academic credentials followed by an entrance test. Selected students are called for an interview conducted by an admission panel. The students are later issued a letter of acceptance. For our MD programme in Guyana (equivalent to MBBS in India), the fee is close to 36 lakhs for 4.5 years course with clinical rotations in Guyana itself. Students can also pursue clinical rotations in the USA for which the fee would vary.
What is the placement percentage of distance learning programmes?
Most of our distance learning students are already working professionals, or doctors. Our course completion rate is as high as 94%, which is significantly higher than the industry average. We have some alumni working in organisations like United Nations, WHO, Ministry of Health (Nigeria) etc.
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