[EDITORIALS]Opening med school doors

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[EDITORIALS]Opening med school doors

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources has confirmed that college graduates of any major can advance to medical and dental schools beginning in 2005, paving the way for a change in how the nation produces its doctors. According to the new plan, anyone who has graduated from college with a bachelor's degree and scores high enough on the Medical or Dental Education Entrance Test can matriculate to a four-year medical or dental school. However, the ministry said that it will leave things up to individual schools whether to adopt the new system or go with the existing medical education system in which a student enters into a six-year program that starts during his or her freshman year.

We applaud the announced change because it opens doors to aspiring medical or dental students a lot more than the existing system. To date, once a student is accepted into a medical or dental school, he more or less is set on a track to a guaranteed future as a doctor. The guarantee of a future triggered highly talented high school students to apply to medical or dental schools, regardless of their preference, where they rushed en masse prior to every academic year.

Thus, the adoption of the new system will definitely loosen concentration of the highest talents in the medical and dental schools.

At the same time, the adoption of the new system is likely to push the idea of adopting U.S.-style law schools or business administration schools, currently under study, into materialization.

A notable change of the new system is that the new medical and dental schools will offer two different tracks: a doctoral course that concentrates on research, and a second track that offers a master's degree or a doctorate in clinical treatment.

Many talented doctors have left their research laboratories, dilapidated and underfunded, to open their own clinics, which are more lucrative. It is difficult to expect an advancement in our medical research or growth of medical researchers against this background.

The two track system should be coupled with measures for improving working conditions of research doctors and for encouraging the study of basic medical sciences.

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