Students who wish to pursue further studies in medicine in foreign universities may soon have to clear the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test, PTI reported on Sunday, quoting a senior Health Ministry official. Currently, only those who wish to study MBBS in India have to clear NEET.

The Centre wants to make NEET mandatory for students who want to study MBBS abroad so only competent candidates make the cut. “A mere 12% to 15% of the graduates who come back after studying abroad manage to clear the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination,” the unidentified official told PTI. “If they don’t clear the graduates exam, they don’t get registered to practice in India.”

“The percentage of graduates who have studied abroad and have cleared the graduate exam range between 13% and 26.9% in the past five years,” the Health Ministry official said. “This is really a matter of concern as they go out, spend lot of their parents’ money and are not able to contribute to healthcare in India.”

In such cases, the official said, medical graduates start quackery or practice illegally, which can be dangerous. He added that if the Centre clears the proposal to make NEET compulsory, only students who clear the exam will be given a No Objection Certificate to study MBBS abroad.