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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 18) – There are no placings this year for privately funded students at the Fiji School of Medicine because the MBBS [Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery] program is to be fully occupied by scholarship-sponsored students.

In a statement yesterday, the Fiji School of Medicine said 70 new students admitted into their first year of Medical School were sponsored students and all the spaces were allocated for them.

The School of Medicine intends to increase its intake into the MBBS program next year. This increase in numbers of new admissions would include a quota for private fee paying students.

On January 4, the School of Medicine's dean, Professor David Brewster, said of the school's 2006 FJ$3.39 million budget [US$1.9 million], FJ$2.89 million [US$1.6 million] was for the school's expenditure, FJ$0.5 million [US$293,000] was for tuition fees and another FJ$1 million [US$587,000] was for capital expenditure.

He said the School decided to increase the intake of MBBS students because of the demand created from the high rate of migration of doctors from Fiji.

Increasing the intake would ensure there would be more doctors.

But there had not been any major changes in the pass rate of medical students in the past couple of years, he said.

Mr. Brewster said the pass rate had fluctuated but it was apparent from the number of students graduating that the pass rate had improved.

At the Fiji School of Medicine graduation in December last year, 293 medical students graduated.

The number was an increase over the 217 graduating students in 2004.

January 19, 2006

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