Sunday February 6, 2005
Plans for full English course at MMA
THE Moscow Medical Academy (MMA) plans to offer a full English medium medical programme starting this September although it has to work out some kinks first.
Its vice-rector for international affairs Prof Renad N. Alyautdin (pic) says this was in response to a demand for a full English programme, especially from foreign students.
However, it would still be compulsory for students to learn Russian language for the first three years and pass the state exam in their final year that will be in the Russian language.
While lectures and tutorials may be conducted in English, clinical work and dealing with Russian patients at hospitals necessitates fluency in Russian, says Prof Alyautdin.
He says a new hostel has been set up just for Malaysians which is 40 minutes by subway to the main building. Police patrols the hostel area every hour and security at the subways has been increased since Chechen rebels stormed a Russian school and took hostages last September.
MMA currently has an enrolment of more than 8,000, including 1,500 foreign students. More than 110 government-sponsored Malaysian students have studied at MMA. The minimum entry requirement is 3 ** in relevant subjects at STPM or A-levels or 75% in South Australian matriculation.
Almost 240 years old, MMA is the oldest medical university in Russia and offers 12 faculties under medicine, pharmacology and stomatology (dentistry). It boasts of having produced great doctors, surgeons and anatomists as well as the famous N. Piragov who proposed that anaesthesia could be administered intravenously.
Prof Alyautdin says his university is happy with the quality of the Malaysian students and secondary school qualifications.
He observes that many undergraduates who enrol for medicine start thinking of their area of specialisation even before they know what they are really in for.
“Sometimes, the first year students decide they want to be a neurosurgeon but during the six years they become aware of many more areas of specialisations and many change their minds. Students should only decide in their fourth or fifth year.”
Using the five fingers on a hand to describe the workload of a medic student, Prof Alyautdin says that it peaks in the third year (as in the third finger) with “theoretical basement of medical science”, with three “whales” to remember.
“Third year is the hardest. By the fourth year, motivation is higher because psychologically, the students feel like doctors as they are allowed to see patients.”
He says MMA is also looking at various methods of teaching: the sub-classical method of lecture or the method of problem-based learning.
“For example in pharmacy, we can give students prescriptions with mistakes, get them to identify them and decide what to do.
“Time will show which method is better and why. But new methods of teaching are not always better. The people who set up the traditional methods were very clever; when we change we must remember this point, why a certain method was used in the first place.”
He says this year, he hopes to introduce nanotechnology in medicine to lecturers and develop cooperation with other organisations in this field.
Prof Alyautdin adds that MMA’s strength lies in its international publications of research. It is rated the top medical university in Russia while Unesco's international rating puts it second, after the Rene Descartes Academy of Medical Sciences.
“The Ministry of Education decides on our ranking based on that as well as our hostel accommodation, staff strength, textbooks in our library and number of PhD holders among our staff.” – By LG
For more information about studying medicine in Russia, please contact Russian Resources at Suite 3, 15th Floor, Wing A, Northam Tower, 57, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 10050 Penang. Call 04-226 0127,04-226 9127 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Their KL office is at Suite 3.05, 3rd Floor, North Block, The AmpWalk, 218 Jalan Ampang, 50450 KL. Tel: 03-2171 1226; Fax: 603-2171 2329.