A village kid gets into Medicine. Now what?

Read in the papers today about Shrishaila Kumbar, who is from a village near Hubli and who is all set to start his studies in Medicine. He is a Kannada medium student, who scored about 85 per cent in PUC. He secured a good enough rank in CET and has a reservation under 2A category. Poverty came in the way of him pursuing his dream of becoming a doctor. So, about 30 villagers came together and donated Rs 26,000 to the family to help him get admission to a medical college. He has also now taken a loan for his future studies.

While all this is good and I am glad for the kid, what I wonder is his ability to do something like professional medicine without a background in English. There must be more such students though who have been pursuing professional courses with no bacground whatsoever in the medium taught at professional colleges. Especially something as complicated as medicine, when taught in a language that one isnt familiar with and where one has to face exams in the new medium of language too, I wonder how possible the studies will be. By keeping the medium of free government education in the local language and expecting the students from govt. schools to compete with everybody else at a later stage somehow doesnt seem too fair. While I hope this kid can manage it all somehow, I would think there should be a collective consideration about teaching more of English to the rural kids. Yes, we are proud of our regional languages and local governments must encourage the use of our local languages, but at what cost? I do not know of any specific examples, where a student from a rural background with limited exposure to the English language has gotten into a professional college. Do you know of any such students? How do they manage?

Your thoughts are welcome, as always.


13 Responses to “A village kid gets into Medicine. Now what?”

  1. Dear Chitra, some of my classmates during MBBS were from extremely rural background and studied in Kannada medium with English as only 1 subject. But they did well. I Know a Paediatric Cardiologist who studied in kannada medium. But they were all very very intelligent and could learn any thing at any age. As long as we are motivated I thing nothing is impossible.

  2. Hey Shyamala, good to hear. :) Since I didnt know of specific examples myself, I am glad you came and shared of folks you know. Good to hear about them. :) But would a better background in English have helped them, when they started out? What do you think?

  3. Chitra,

    I second Shyamala. Even I have noticed quite a few people with kannada background getting in to Professional courses like Engineering, Medical etc.

    As far your latter question, a better background in english need not help them. Learning is a ongoing process, i have noticed that ppl who learn in local language can grasp things quickly than their counterpart who has learnt in english. The reason that I can think of is , ppl who study in english, tend to think and decipher the subject in local language, which is a challenge. Where as its not the case when studying in local language.

    Hope this puts some thoughts in to your queries.

  4. Manjunath, thanks for the response. And I am glad the language doesnt seem to come in the way. Not sure, if I agree with what you say about folks studying in English and having to decipher the subject to their native tongue.

  5. A village kid gets into medicine, Now what?

    Let me try:

    Five years, USMLE, J1 visa, residency, J1 visa waiver, wedding, greencard, citizenship, and a long life serving american patients and making money.

    73% of Indian medical graduates settle abroad within 8 years of their graduation per the latest AIDRF stats.

  6. More and more students from rural areas, with little knowledge of English are venturing into the mainstream. They struggle and emerge winners..

    Oruvan’s comment might seem funny but that is a reality.. All roads lead abroad, very few stay behind to serve the country..

  7. Everyone has pretty much said whatever I wanted to say. My best friend in Engg knew only Kannada when he joined. I had a deal with him, you teach me fluent Kannada and I teach you English. It worked, although he struggled and failed various subjects in the first year, the final year he and I scored the same marks. He’s succesful today, works for a large corporate software company and has travelled abroad. It can be done.

    And me? I can beat a local with my Kannada.

  8. I think English or mother tongue language does not matter much. If the child has intrinsic desire to learn, has good support from parents and is hard working he can succeeed in any field. Most of the times parents are jittery but child will be fine.

  9. Oruvan, yep, you have a point there. :)

    Thanks JD, Poppins, and Shyamala for sharing. :)

  10. Although an english background would really help these kids, its not always so bad like we envision it to be. I had couple of friends myself from the tamil medium who did better than ppl from english medium schools. I have few examples the other way too. local language or English does not matter since our society has a bigger fish to fry. A quality education at an affordable cost from the kindergarden level to the college level is what we need to worry about now.

    I feel the tuition debt will be a bigger problem in years to come and not the medium of language. If the guy in this example did not have to pay any fees he would have had one less thing to worry.

  11. hi chitra. commenting after a long time.

    i used to coach my maid’s kid for his engg entrance, his schooling upto then was done in marathi medium so i first had to translate stuff like ‘ghanatva’ (density) and kshetraphal’ (area) before i could explain stuff. so, i will say you do have a point.

    on the other hand, a batchmate at IIT (a good friend too) had written JEE in hindi, literally knew no english but went on to not just do well in his job but eventually also an MBA in a top-ranking european b-school. started a fin consultancy that does business around the world and is v successful now. regularly airs his views ion TV too – in fluent (even if accented) english!

  12. Hi Chitra,

    I agree that it will be a challenge for this person to cope up – but is definitely doable if you persist (as some of the other readers have suggested). I know of a couple of people who went onto to do medicine after being educated in the local medium of instruction. They did say it was tough but managed to pull it off.

    On that note – here’s an interesting study:

    http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/boroditsky09/boroditsky09_index.html

    -Ganapathy

  13. Basically i didnt liked your way of viewing the things,, Do you know why the countries like JAPAN,PALISTINE and CUBA and such more countries are a head of america or india?? ‘coz they learn the basics and everything in their own mother tong, because of which its possible to learn the things well,, We indians losr that and became western slaveries in all the fields,,,

    keep writing..

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