Ayurveda education reforms in India

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1. Present scenario Ayurveda education in India has undergone several transitions till 1970, when the Central Council for Indian Medicine (CCIM) was constituted by an Act of Parliament. This resulted in uniform curriculum for Ayurveda education at the national level. The na-tional health policies thus far have generally favored modern med-icine while traditional systems of medicine have remained marginalized in the country of their origin. The Ayurveda system has not yet become the mainstream in India. It does not coexist with modern medicine as traditional medicine exists in China. Although Ayurveda graduates play an important role in public health delivery system, their formal training in basic diagnosis and clinical skills are supposedly limited [1]. The theoretical and textbook based teaching needs to be transformed into more prac-tical bedside training on par with developments in medicine. The present situation in medical education and especially that of Ayurvedic education in India resembles that in the United States before the publication of the Flexner Commission's landmark report. The report highlighted the importance of creating physician scientists and not just clinicians. Even Ayurveda physicians need to be educated both as clinicians and as scientists ('Vaidya-Scientists') where traditional and modern pedagogies are balanced [2]. The current Ayurveda education system needs to reinforce its Shastra base on one side while keeping pace with the developments in modern science and technology and ensuring a strong link between research and teaching. Classical Indian method of education, which is applicable to Ayurveda also, involves four levels. Adhiti is the first level when information is collected and absorbed. This is followed by Bodha, which involves understanding and internalization of knowledge. The next level is Acharana, which means application of the knowledge and its practice. After mastering the three levels, one is supposed to be capable for Pracharana, which involves preaching, teaching, advocacy and dissemination of knowledge. The current problem in Ayurveda education becomes serious as teachers often tend to teach without sufficient understanding and clinical experience. The CCIM approach of permitting hundreds of new colleges without sufficient infrastructure and teachers has resulted in diploma mills producing thousands of inadequately equipped Ayurvedic graduates and post-graduates. The CCIM's uniform cur-riculum approach has adversely impacted traditional pedagogy and shifted the focus from classical Gurukula to colleges and Universities. In Gurukula, the Guru used to have a small group of students at his place, and because this group was small, learning was more natural, spontaneous, informal and competency-based. As this system got disintegrated to form universities and colleges, learnereteacher interaction has diminished to a bare minimum and 'theoretical knowledge' has replaced 'competency'. A large sec-tion of community is concerned that the majority of Ayurvedic graduates tend to opt Western medicine practice. All these reasons are responsible for the present state of crisis in Ayurveda education. Therefore, major reforms were inevitable to put the house in order. 2. Proposed regulatory mechanisms Recently the NITI Aayog, Government of India, has proposed two draft bills titled " The National Commission for Indian Systems of Medicine (NCISM) Bill, 2017 " and " The National Commission for Homoeopathy (NCH) Bill-2017 " . The bills primarily seek to intro-duce a paradigm shift in the regulation of AYUSH education in In-dia. These follow a similar proposal to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) through the National Medical Commission Bill-2016. 2.1. Key features One of the important features of the proposed bills is the intro-duction of a new regulatory hierarchy comprising of a Commis-sion, advisory council and different autonomous boards with a mandate to perform their functions in the specified domains. One board for ensuring ethics in education and practice, and another one for assessment and rating of the institutions has also been proposed. Another prominent point in the draft is that it proposes to replace the current norm of 'elections' with a trans-parent merit-based 'selection' process. This new process of selec-tion will be applicable for the key positions of the Commission and its constituent boards. This change is intended at stopping the incompetent and inexperienced people from occupying the key regulatory positions. The draft also mentions of replacing the current input-based regulatory mechanism with an outcome based one. In this context, it has been rightly pointed out that, at present, the recognition of the institutions is based mostly on the inputs in the form of pre-defined infrastructural requirements and headcounts of different classes of employees and hence, ne-glects the quality of teaching and learning outcomes. One more significant point in the draft proposal is that it gives a provision for representation from varied fields such as botany, pharma-cology, management, economics, law etc., to the Commission.




Patwardhan, K., & Patwardhan, B. (2017, April 1). Ayurveda education reforms in India. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 8(2), 59–61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaim.2017.05.001

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