Only a third of first-year Medicine students at Usal are from Castilla y León, compared to 68% at La Uva

Less than a third of the first-year students of the Degree in Medicine at the University of Salamanca (Usal) are from Castilla y León, a percentage that is well below the 67.7 percent of the same career in the public institution of Valladolid (UVa). The great demand for medical studies by students in Spain, together with its educational quality, motivates that the only two existing faculties in the Community receive many applications from students from other territories.

A situation that occurs due to the existence of the single university district whereby a student who takes the Baccalaureate Assessment for University Access (EBAU) in any territory can use their results to opt for any faculty in the country, despite the fact that the test is not unique and therefore favors inequalities between students from different communities. A situation that is very palpable in highly demanded grades and with very high cut-off marks (13,121 in the case of Medicine at UVa and 12,952 at Usal).

The current 2021-2022 academic year has started unevenly in terms of the geographical origin of the students who start Medicine at the two public universities in Castilla y León, according to the data provided by both institutions to the Ical Agency. The Faculty of Salamanca has enrolled the lowest percentage of students in the Community, with only 31.7 percent. In other words, Castilian and Leonese students will occupy 57 of the 180 places offered for the first year. The percentage of students from the Community in recent years at Usal was around 50 percent. The past, for example, was 41.8 percent while in 2019-2020 it was 49 percent. According to the enrollment data of the University of Salamanca, it would be necessary to go back to the 2013-2014 and 2011-2012 academic years to find so few students from the university districts of Castilla y León, with 35.4 and 36.6 percent, respectively.

On the contrary, the high rate of enrollment of students from the Community this year in the first course of Medicine at UVa is surprising. The 67.7 percent of students coming from one of the provinces of Castilla y León contrasts is much higher than the 50 percent on average in recent years. Therefore, of the total of 192 places offered this year, 130 are occupied by young people who have completed their Baccalaureate studies in the Community. They are followed, at a great distance, by the 21 students from Andalusia, which account for 10.9 percent. The list is completed with Madrid (seven); Cantabria, Catalonia and Galicia (six, in each case) and Valencia (five), among others.

The dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the UVa, José María Fidel, acknowledged the difficulty in explaining the increase in enrollment of students in Castilla y León but ventured to comment that it may be because the level of the EBAU. “The Community is the territory of Spain that obtains the best results in the different studies such as PISA, but then it does not appear so well in the marks of the university entrance exam. Perhaps, here, the examination was excessively rigid and now it has been relaxed a bit, ”he explained.

He recalled a study carried out by the Dean a few years ago to analyze the evolution of Medicine students. The first access grades to the first year corresponded to students from Andalusia and Extremadura but later, in view of the results throughout the degree, that level was not real and they were surpassed by university students from other places such as Castilla y León.

On the other hand, the 57 enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine of Salamanca from Castilla y León are close to the 40 from the university district of Extremadura (22.2 percent) and do not even double the 30 who arrived from Andalusia (16, 7 percent). Next are Castilla-La Mancha and Madrid with 12 in each case (6.7 percent) and eleven from the National Distance Education University (Uned), which is where foreigners, basically Portuguese students, enter. .

With the aim of correcting, as far as possible, this circumstance, the Usal has open the transfer of files throughout the entire degree, so that each year there are 15 places for the arrival of new students between second and sixth course thus supplement those who suspend or abandon the degree. In these cases, the students who have resided in Castilla y León in the last five years have priority. In the case of Valladolid, there is an additional access with 15 places in the third year to fill the vacant positions, occupied by students with good grades who have completed the first two years of Medicine in other public or private universities.

“Bad” access

The dean of Medicine of the Usal, José Carretero, highlighted to Ical that the access system to the University is “absolutely anomalous”, which favors the arrival of students from diverse geographical origins and that the enrollment of students lasts a month and a half after the start of classes. “There is no way to take this system as it lacks a single access list, which is why people are coming and going for several weeks when they get a place at another university,” he said. Hence, it claims a single test and a single list, as is the case with the MIR (Internal Resident Physician) exam, although there are several locations designated by the Ministry of Health spread throughout the national territory.

“As long as there is no single access system, the problem will continue because we are the only district to choose a grade but not for the exam,” he said. Therefore, Carretero is in favor of a single EBAU, considering that it will be the only way to end the suspicion of the “bias” that students from certain communities have higher grades than those from Castilla y León. “I am not saying that the results will change but it is the way to banish with these doubts that the test is different by territory. It is clear that it comes out of the eye that there are more than twice as many students from abroad than from the Community itself ”, he declared.

Something that prevents, he specified, that the young people of Castilla y León can carry out their medical studies in the faculties of the Community. “This problem exists in all places where there is a lot of competition as there is no common access test and students are not evaluated and graded with the same exams,” he said. And it is that the Degree of Medicine of the University of Salamanca received this course more than 8,300 applications from young people interested in starting their studies. They are 3,000 more than in other years.

In any case, José Carretero stressed that student loyalty is not only related to the origin of the student but, above all, to the professional situation. Specifically, he gave the example of Family Medicine, a deficit specialty in Castilla y León that, in his opinion, is due to the problem of population dispersion and the lack of professional and work incentives.

Job offers

His counterpart in Valladolid had an impact on the issue by pointing out that it is useless to create more positions in the faculties if later an “adequate” job is not offered and those professionals are not “well treated” and “considered”. “Medicine students in Spain come out well trained, with language skills, and many choose to go to England, France or Portugal, where being a doctor is still important and well rewarded, with permanent contracts and not for months as it happens here” , said José María Fidel.

Asked about the possibility of increasing the number of existing places at present or creating new medical schools in the Community, both agreed that the “overcrowding” of universities is not the solution, since the most important thing is that doctors come out of your well-formed centers. “Having twice the number of students would cause a deterioration in the quality of teaching,” said the dean of Salamanca. In addition, he stressed that a medical school costs the public treasury a lot of money, around 20,000 euros per student and course.

José María Fidel wondered if the Community has the money to spend 50 million euros on a new medical school. “Who is going to put them? We are crazy. The problem is that we allocate money to train our university students very well for ten years and then they go to other countries as doctors, ”he snapped.

They also warned that it would be useless to have more places if, later, there is not an increase in those of the MIR, without forgetting the increase in the professors of the faculties and, above all, the capacity of hospitals and health centers to receive the clinical practices of the students.

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