Page:Introductory Address on the General Medical Council, its Powers and its Work.djvu/35
ITS POWERS AND ITS WORK
every student who after the age of twenty-one applies for the registration of his diploma, the Council must either ask each of the twenty-four bodies to keep its own register of students' names and ages, and keep it open to the Council's inspection day by day; or, what is vastly more convenient for everybody, it must institute a Central Register of its own. As students often pass from one University or school to another, the former plan would require the establishment of a students' clearing-house for the ratification and exchange of local certificates of registration. The latter plan saved all this, and so it was adopted. Then arises the question, On what conditions shall a student be entered in the Central Register? What must he do before he is invested by the Council with the rights and privileges—if any—of a Registered medical student? At a very early stage most, if not all, of the bodies had insisted that every one of their own students should first show, in some way satisfactory to themselves, that he had enough general education to justify his admission to a liberal profession, and to profit by 'the scientific and technical training that prepared him for it. The Central Register had no chance of acceptance by bodies like these unless it was based on the same principle. Thus *the Council was impelled to require a "sufficient" certificate of preliminary education as a pre-requisite to registration. Again the question of "sufficiency" led to the defining of a minimum requirement, and to the enumeration of the authorities whose certificates as a matter of fact fulfilled the requirement. Without its seeking, the Council had thus to embark on inquiries concerning general as well as professional education, and indirectly to exert an influence on the former as well as on the latter. To this day the time of two Standing Committees, on Education and on Students' Registration, is largely taken up with this subject; and the Council's requirements in regard to "arts" have risen, are rising, and are bound to rise still higher.