The Sri Madhusudan Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (SIMSR) in Muddenahalli, Karnataka, is set to be India’s first totally free medical college. Speaking with the Business Standard Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai, a spiritual leader and founder of the college, said students won’t have to pay any fee, hostel or food charges.
“We wanted to take medical education to the doorsteps of the large number of rural youths who cannot afford to enroll in higher education institutes. Among girls, the enrolment ratio is even worse, with only one percent of rural girls getting into higher education. With free education, we are hoping parents will now be motivated to send their daughters to our HEI,” Sadguru said.
SIMSR, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, takes an aptitude test of students after they have passed the 10th standard, and trains them for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). The training encompasses the curriculum for standards 11th and 12th as well.
The institute is also going to introduce postgraduate courses soon, with a focus on medical specialties. “This way we will be guiding them through a complete cycle of 15-20 years of higher education in Medicine”, Sadguru added. With thousands of India’s foreign medical graduates finding it difficult to recommence their medical careers after returning to India, thanks to the limited internships, SIMSR is also planning to expand their postgraduate seats and incentivize undergrad students to continue their post-graduate studies in the same institution.
The institute will also have 3 verticals: healthcare, nutrition & education. Under Healthcare, the institute is also providing free pediatric cardiac care treatment. The SIMSR also has 3 hospitals in India in Palwal, Khargar & Naya Raipur, which also offer free services to their patients.
Sadguru said the central government’s Ayushman Bharat Yojana has proved useful in funding the students selected got the programmes. The institute is also planning to rope in the benefits of Jan Aushadhi to make sure generic medicines are available at a low cost for medical practitioners as well as patients.
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Finally, the institutes have developed educational academic tie-up with medical institutions like the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in Wardha, Maharashtra as well as with Stanford University in California, USA.