VERNACULAR MEDICAL EDUCATION. TO

THE EDITOR OF THE INDIAN MEDICAL GAZETTE.

Sik,?In my last I showed the necessity of improving the education given in our vernacular medical schools. I had then time only to hint that I could give a scheme of vernacular medical education, which would be found at once cheap and

comprehensive. I intend on this occasion to give some details of my scheme, especially as the Lieutenant-Governor has in contemplation the establishment of some new schools in Bengal. To begin then, 1 would add the following subjects to the existing curriculum of our vernacular medical schools: 1. Chemistry. 2. Physiology and histology (human.) 3. Midwifery with diseases of Women and Children. 4. Medical Jurisprudence. These, together with the existing subjects, viz., anatomy materia medica, medicine, and surgery, should be taught by four teachers of the sub-assistant surgeon class. The subjects may ?

be thus divided among them : The teacher of Anatomy to teach also Physiology, &e. Materia medica Chemistry. ? Medicine Midwifery, &c. ?

Surgery

?

Medical Jurisprudence.

The principal, who must necessarily be also the civil surgeon of the station at which the school might happen to be located, should not be encumbered with the work of teaching,

January 1, 1874.]

CORRESPONDENCE.

a3, with the multifarious duties which already engage bis attention, he cannot he expected to do justice to whatever subject might be entrusted to him. The scale of pay I would recommend for the teachers is that which obtains at the Agra and Nagpur medical schools ; viz., the pay of their grades with an allowance of Its. 100 per mensem per head. If we have two 3rd grade men for the junior branches and two 2nd grade sub-assistant surgeons for the senior ones, the monthly expenditure on account of teachers would come to?

B-3-

400 500

?

Total Rs. 900 The expenditure

...

for two

...

on

account of

following:? Stipends

for 20

teachers.

senior Books for school library Servants Assistant teacher (of the ?

...

...

hospl.

...

,,

stipends, &c.,

students at Rs. 5 each 6 ? ? ,,

junior

Contingencies

junior senior

?

...

...

...

...

...

...

asstt.

class)

...

...

...

Total Rs. Add to this Rs. 250*

as

principal's

may be

the

Rs.

A.

P.

100 120 25 30 40 35

0

O

0

0

0

0

0

O

350

0

0

0

0

0

0

allowance, and the total

Rs. 1.500. in excess of that given by the Indian Medical Gazette in its issue of 1st February 1867 ; but, with due deference to the opinion of so high an authority, I beg most respectfully to submit that theory and practice do at times vary. That the Gazette has missed its mark in this respect might be proved by citing an instance. We all know that the school at Nagpur is a model one after the Gazette's plan, and it is also believed to be the least expensive of all the existing vernacular medical schools. The following list, prepared from its published reports, will show the yearly increasing expenditure up to the end of the last session : A. P. Rs. From 1st August 1867 to 30th June 1868 8,713 8 10 4 1st July 1868 to 31stMarch 1869 11,810 4 ? 8 1st April 1869 to 1870 ? 14,621 11 ? 11 13 to 1871 1870 15,729 ? 1872 7 1871 to 16,568 3 ? ,, 3 1873 1872 to ? 18,568 7 ? And yet we know that the tuitorial staff of the school consists of only three sub-assistant surgeons. The truth appears to be that an efficient school of the kind can never be managed with a sum less than that I have given above. It is even doubtful whether that would be enough; but I think we might fairly begin with it, and, if the future of a school proves it to be worthy of support, I think we ought not to deny it a small supplementary grant, for true economy consists not in never spending, but in knowing where to spend. But I do really believe that after all we need not fear much on the score of expenditure. You yourself bear testimony to the fact of the rapidly increasing value of our art in the estimation of the people ; if so, may we not reasonably expect to realise a part of it from them in the shape of a tuition fee ? A few words with regard to the qualification of candidates for ndmission may now be said. I have had occasion to allude to the difficulty we have to contend with in order to make our lectures understood by our pupils for want of good preliminary education. As a remedy for this, I would require the candidates to possess a fairly respectable knowledge of the following

monthly expenditure comes to This sum is undoubtedly

...

...

...

...

...

...

subjects

:

?

Language

and Literature.

Grammar.

History. Geography.

Elements of Natural Philosophy. Arithmetic (with, if possible, a little of Algebra.)

Geometry.

Should any one be disposed to consider this as too high a standard for our students, I would request him to refer to the the list of subjects required by Calcutta Medical College for its Bengali class students, and if the Bengali class native doctor and the hospital assistant are to do the same work?as in fact they do?I do not see any reason why we should be more lenient *

If a Native could be found and entrusted with tlie work of superintendence, as suggested by His Honor the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, the expenditure under this head might be still less.

27

than we are to the other, especially when we know that this respect is fraught with so much ulterior mischief. For my own part, I think we cannot attach too much importance to a sound preliminary education, since on it. in great part, depends that peculiar frame of mind which constitutes a good and successful practitioner of medicine. I would moreover require the student to pass his preliminary year not in an outside, but in the school, hospital. This is necessary for more reasons than one. In the first place, know from actual experience that our students do not profit much, if at all, by their year's stay in those hospitals; secondly, even on theoretical grounds, there is more likelihood of one learning clinical medicine intelligently with some book knowledge than without it; lastly, the addition of four new and important subjects to the curriculum renders it imperative to allow the students some extra time to master them. One year, I think, is time enough for this, and it is economical to utilise the year of apprenticeship for this purpose. To complete my scheme, I would give a trial to Rai Bahadur Kanny Lall Dey's plan of appointing a teacher of Hindoo Medicine in those schools whose funds might be available for the purpose. I alluded in my last to Dr. Wise's objections to the present system of vernacular medical education. Since then I have had an opportunity of knowing his ideas on the subject more accurately. The sagacious doctor has found out, not only that the native doctor is not a very harmless being, but also that the Hindoo system of medicine is a rich mine of valuable treasures. His idea therefore is to blend together the European and the Native systems of medicine. Need I say that this idea can most advantageously be acted upon on the suggestion of Babu Kanny Lall Dey. In conclusion, I would most respectfully beg to draw the attention of His Honor the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal to a most glaring defect in the system of education given in the Bengali Department of the Calcutta Medical College. The defect I allude to is in regard to physiology, which, as far as I am aware, is not systematically taught in that department. Indeed, it has always struck me as most unaccountably curious that although additions have from time to time been made to the curriculum, it has never occurred to any one to introduce in it this most important branch of medical science ; and yet who is there that does not know its proper value in relation to this science ? Now that the Lieutenant-Governor is about to improve this department, my earnest solicitations are that he should not lose sight of this defect in it. Yours obediently. A Native Teacher of Medicine. to the

one

leniency in

Vernacular Medical Education.

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