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Students suffer in PMDC, private colleges’ wrangling over admissions

ISLAMABAD: Prospective medical students across the country are still confused about the mode of admission to private medical colleges under the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council’s new policy.

Parwarsha Farooq is one such individual. Having secured 87.6pc overall, she was confident that she would qualify for admission to a public-sector university. But it was not to be, and she was forced to seek placement in a private medical college.

Thanks to the new PMDC policy, which requires that all students admitted to private colleges must be enrolled with and admitted by selected public-sector medical universities, she still has no idea how to go about applying to private colleges.

Naeem Sheikh, Parwarsha’s uncle, told Dawn his niece secured 970/1050 marks in the matriculation exams and 991/1100 marks in her intermediate exams, but they still didn’t know how to go about enrolling her in a private college.
Private colleges have sought 19 stays; PMDC insists directly admitted students won’t be recognised

Dr Riaz Shahbaz, chairman of the Hazrat Bari Imam Sarkar Medical College in Islamabad told Dawn that as many as 19 stays had been sought from courts across the country by private medical colleges, adding that most private colleges had completed their admissions process.

But according to Mr Sheikh: “Colleges want students to enroll with them directly, whereas the PMDC has been saying that direct admissions will not be accepted and such students will not be registered with the council.”

Unmoved by the students’ plight, PMDC President Dr Shabir Lehri told Dawn that the new admission policy would be implemented in letter and spirit and that the council would move the Supreme Court to ensure that its policy was upheld.

This policy, published in the Gazette of Pakistan on Oct 27, requires that public sector universities admit students to private medical colleges and collect their fees. This, the council stressed, was an effort to root out incidence of bribery and the fleecing of students on the pretext of donations to the college.

However, private medical colleges have filed a number of writs in courts across the country, holding up the council’s plans.

Dr Javed Akram, who is vice chancellor of the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University – attached with the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) – told Dawn that the admissions process was ongoing and the list of successful candidates will be displayed on Dec 3.

“As per the policy, all admissions will be conducted through Pims. Those who have sought admissions bypassing Pims will not be registered as medical students,” he said.

But Dr Shahbaz only blames the council and the Ministry of National Health Services, who he said have mishandled the case.

“In September, we were told that we can admit students through a testing service, but on Oct 27, a notification was issued that all the admissions will be conducted through public-sector universities,” he said.

He noted that even the status of the PMDC had been challenged before the Supreme Court, since the current council was established though an ordinance that had lapsed before it was passed by parliament. This, he said, made the council’s status uncertain, adding that the Higher Education Commission of Sindh had also written to the council and challenged its status.

Dr Shahbaz told Dawn that private medical colleges had completed the admissions process on their own and classes had already begun in institutes across Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. In Islamabad, classes are expected to start during next week.

“We suggest that the council should allow colleges to continue with already-completed admissions and that the council’s new admissions policy should be implemented from next year,” he said.

But Dr Lehri insists that these measures are being taken on the basis of parents’ complaints. The council will not register students who are getting admissions in violation of the rules, he said.

“Private colleges annually earn around Rs 250 million in donations, so they are doing everything possible to ensure they get to admit students themselves. A number of parents have contacted the council, alleging that they have paid up to Rs2 million in donations to improve their chances of admission, but they haven’t even been given a receipt,” he concluded.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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