An extremely thin number of doctors doing post-graduation in orthopaedics have been given passing chit in the final theory exam conducted by the National Board of Examination (NBE). Almost two-thirds of students have failed the ENT exam. Similarly, only about 36% has passed the exam in paediatrics. These results were announced by the NBE on November 24 cam as a huge shocker to the doctors doing diplomate of the national board (DNB).
DNB is a post-graduate course that is considered equivalent to MD/MS however, this course is taught in private hospitals and is regulated by NBE. Doctors had been assured that the hardship and disruption in studies due to Covid would be taken into consideration when conducting the exams and in marking them. On the other side of the spectrum, the students are claiming that the pass percentage clearly shows that the hat along with an unreasonably difficult paper the assessment probably been very brutal.
Senior authorities in NBE have pinned the results on bad preparations done by doctors during Covid. Those who pursue a speciality in Orthopaedics pointed out that if Covid was the reason, the results ought to have been uniformly poor across all specialities. In any case, among specialities in which more than 50 students appeared, the pass rate was practically 90% in obstetrics and gynaecology, and 60% in dermatology and a few others including general surgery, ophthalmology, radiodiagnosis and psychiatry.
According to a resident doctor in orthopaedics, “DNB orthopaedics is quite high up in preference and so only people with a decent rank in the NEET PG exam get the speciality. Hence, it can’t be that more than 80% of doctors specialising in orthopaedics are poor students. If the poor result is attributed to substandard training at the institute, NBE is to be held responsible for giving accreditation to poor-quality institutions. However, this cannot be true because some of the institutes which have seen zero candidates passing are among the best”.
According to the official NBE data, the pass percentage of DNB paediatrics has been consistently low over the last three exams, the highest being 43.4% in the June 2020 session.
Dr S Rajasekaran, the president of the Association of National Board Accredited Institutions (ANBAI) and the head of the department of orthopaedics and spine surgery in Ganga Hospital, stated that ANBAI has written to the NBE to consider reevaluation before the publication of results if there is an abnormally low pass percentage in any speciality.
Rajasekaran also added, “We have also made a strong plea that at least 50% of the examiners must be from NBE institutions.”
“Only those clearing the theory exam can appear for the practicals. So the final result of those who pass the practical exam could be even lower,” shared an orthopaedic resident who has failed in this year’s exam and is appearing for the next DNB exam being held from December 16 to 19.
Many resident doctors have also pointed out the fact that there was a gap o barely a month between the results of the last exam being announced and the next one. “It ensures that students have no time to challenge the results as they would immediately get busy preparing for the next chance to clear the exam,” stated a resident doctor specialising in paediatrics