'Looking at the shortage of manpower in the medical field, the CBSE has decided to commence a two-year full time healthcare sciences course from the new academic session,' said Shashi Bhushan, head of the Department of Vocational Education at CBSE.
'Students can opt for this course after Class 10 in board- affiliated schools. It would be a joint certification by the CBSE and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI),' Bhushan told IANS.
The two-year course will have five subjects, including one language and another academic elective like biology.
The other three subjects are healthcare delivery system, hospital organisation and services, medical equipment and technology (one paper); anatomy and physiology; and food, nutrition and dietics.
After Class 10, students can opt for this special course instead of science, commerce and arts. They will be regular Class 11 and 12 students.
Bhushan said the CBSE students would get trained at major hospitals like Fortis, Max, Apollo, Wockhardt and other such tertiary care hospitals affiliated to FICCI.
'Apart from their regular classroom teaching, these students will spend seven weeks every year at top hospitals to get a hands-on experience. They will assist doctors and senior nurses and pick up the fine nuances of the healthcare services,' he said.
'The aim is to facilitate the upward mobility of our students and prepare them as skilled individuals.'
Paramedics are a group of health professionals who help doctors in basic life support system, emergency care and do sundry hospital jobs like helping in the operation theatre and being a part of the ambulance service.
CBSE officials said they are also in talks with the Nursing Council of India and the Pharmacy Council of India on giving preference to students at the graduation level.
Bhushan said nearly 50 schools, mainly in cities where big hospitals are located, are taking up the course this year. Gradually more schools will adopt the course.
Asked if the current teachers in the CBSE can handle the course, he said: 'We are going to train our biology teachers to tackle the special course.'
'Our board is in talks with the Academy of Hospital Administration (AHA), a private body comprising senior doctors, to train teachers,' he added.
Highlighting the problems of the Indian healthcare sector, the Planning Commission has said the country faces a shortage of about 600,000 doctors, one million nurses, 200,000 dental surgeons and a large number of paramedical staff.