Ms Maria Loh Mun Foong raised a good point when she noted that the vast majority of our overseas medical students study in foreign universities because they could not get admission to a local university ("Shortage of doctors? Train more Singaporeans locally"; Wednesday).
So, the question is, if our local universities increase the number of places for medical students, does it mean that standards will be lowered?
Quantity does not necessarily equate to quality in medical education. Do we have a sustainable pool of excellent teaching staff and experienced clinicians to cater for an expanded pool of medical students?
It is easy to build more buildings and facilities to train medical students. However, it is not an easy task to attract suitable and committed medical teaching staff.
One also needs to consider the ratio of teachers to medical students here.
Although Ms Loh meant well in suggesting that we reduce our dependence on foreign-trained doctors, the fact of the matter is that there may be factors that do not support the increase in the number of medical students in the local universities.
Ada Chan Siew Foen (Ms)
This article was first published on November 27, 2015.
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