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Ministry: Removal of TCM universities from list won't affect students' licenses

China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-20 07:21
A woman has her pulse taken by a practitioner of Chinese medicine on July 3, 2019. [Photo by Zou Hong/chinadaily.com.cn]

The Ministry of Education on Monday dismissed worries that the removal of eight universities specializing in traditional Chinese medicine from the World Directory of Medical Schools would affect graduates' ability to obtain medical licenses.

In a response to China Daily, the ministry said TCM universities are important parts of China's medical colleges and universities, and TCM graduates have the qualifications to attend medical licensing examinations based on relevant laws.

Such a fact will not be changed or influenced by a decision made by a nongovernmental organization to remove them from its directory, the ministry said.

The eight delisted Chinese medical schools are Beijing University of Chinese Medicine; Guiyang College of Traditional Chinese Medicine; Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine; Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine; Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine; Shanxi College of Traditional Chinese Medicine; Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine; and Yunnan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. There are still 20 TCM schools listed in the directory.

The ministry did not specify why the eight universities had been removed from the directory.

Neither the directory nor the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine responded to a China Daily inquiry about the removal by press time.

The World Directory of Medical Schools is a public database of institutions that provide medical education. First published by the World Health Organization in 1953, the directory is now managed by the World Federation for Medical Education and the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research. It has been published at www.wdoms.org since 2014.

According to a screenshot of an emailed reply from the directory published by wo16hao, a WeChat account that focuses on TCM research, the eight schools were delisted because they do not provide "a complete or full program" that is necessary for students to apply for licenses to practice as physicians.

Chen Yemeng, head of the American Alumni of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, wrote a letter to the university's president, Xu Jianguang, saying that the university should strive to re-enter the directory as the removal seriously affects the school's international image and recognition of its degrees.

The directory is of high authority and is used by universities in the United States to verify the qualifications of foreign medical students, according to the letter.

But Yang Zhen, professor at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, said the removal from the directory only has limited influence on students at these universities.

"Only students who want to pursue a higher degree in western medicine at US universities will be influenced, which is rare for graduates in TCM," he said.

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