Med schools gear up for English exam

Medical specialists may be asked to conduct their licensing exams in English, as part of this country's preparations for the Asean Economic Community (AEC) which takes effect at the end of 2015.

Arwut Srisukri, secretary-general of the Consortium of Thai Medical Schools, which oversees the syllabus of medical schools, said the move was part of the medical field's preparations for stiff competition in the labour market expected once the AEC is launched.

Under the proposal, which has yet to be approved, the written part of the licencing exam would be taken in English while the clinical exam would be conducted in Thai.

The AEC will usher in a free flow of skilled labour in many professions including medicine.

Dr Arwut said the professional body wants to ensure doctors can measure up to potential foreign competition under the AEC.

Another proposal up for debate would require doctors to take a medical licence examination every five years, though doctors who accumulate experience through training or academic work may be exempt.

Comprehensive examinations to be taken by third-year and fifth-year medical students also could be conducted in English. The changes would be introduced gradually.

Dr Somsak Lolekha, an advisory chairman to the Medical Council of Thailand's executive board, said the proposal will benefit medical students and doctors.

He was sure students would be able to adapt, as parts of their medical programme are taught in English already.

He believes the change will motivate doctors to improve their skills.

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Writer: Paritta Wangkiat