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China loses 90 pct of TCM talents in 30 years

(People's Daily Online)

08:20, July 27, 2012

The predicament of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an indisputable fact in current China. The "scissors differential" between TCM and Western medicine is enlarging and the increased number of TCM doctors is less than the fraction of that of Western medicine every year. Furthermore, the number of famous doctors, who are TCM vanguards, has sharply reduced to less than 500 from more than 5,000 in the 1980s.

TCM experts pointed out that TCM courses are ignored and squeezed in the colleges of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the ratio of TCM and Western medicine courses has fallen to 6 to 4 from the original 8 to 2. Moreover, various evaluation systems and employment standards were set according to that of Western medicine. Therefore, among 60% TCM classes, only 40% can be regarded as real TCM courses. "TCM has become dispensable," some TCM experts said sadly.

In addition, TCM graduate students are cultivated in a Western way, dividing into "academic degree" and "professional degree”, with the former focusing on cultivation of TCM scientific manpower while the latter aiming at TCM clinicians.

"TCM talents cannot be well developed if teaching is separated from clinical medicine," Lu Yubo, president of Guangdong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said that to separate TCM education into basic research and clinical medicine according to modern medicine mode is a taboo for TCM.

Western medicine has not only occupied the education field but has overwhelming advantages from education to hospitals, said Chai Kefu, dean of the College of Basic Medical Science, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University.

Consequently, TCM education tries to return to the most traditional method of masters teaching apprentices in practice. Though such cultivation mode can train many experienced doctors, they cannot take the examination of doctors' qualifications because they did not experience a regular education in a college. Even if they are accepted, almost half of the exam content is about Western medicine, which will bring them in the dark. The current educational system puts the traditional TCM educational method in an awkward situation, in which teachers are experienced but cannot find a way out.

The curative effect determines the future of TCM while the medical talents are overall prerequisites. There is still a long way to go for TCM to cultivate its talents.

Source: People Daily
Author: Deng Wei, Liu Chengyou, Jiang Nan, Zhang Wen, Yao Xueqing, Yang Xu and Liang Chen
Read the Chinese version: 中医教育,郁结难疏


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