ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and private medical colleges are at loggerheads once more over the college admissions process.
The council has issued a number of statements advising students not to seek admission in private medical colleges that are in violation of council regulations, while private colleges are using their students and their students’ parents to resist the council.
Last October, the PMDC had announced that public sector colleges would complete their admissions process before private colleges are allowed to start theirs. It was also decided that admissions into private colleges would be carried out through a centralised induction process organised by public sector universities.
Private colleges obtained stay orders from various courts in the country, arguing that the policy was announced too late and the colleges had already completed their admissions processes. The council had then announced that the new policy would be implemented from 2017 onwards, and a Lahore High Court decision said the council had the right to make policies for medical colleges.
This year, the PMDC announced that public sector colleges would complete their admissions by Nov 30, after which private colleges would start theirs. But private medical colleges have already begun their admissions processes instead of waiting for centralised induction, even though public sector colleges have yet to complete their admissions.
The council has issued a number of statements saying that students who have sought admission by bypassing the central induction system would not be registered by the council and advising students to protect their futures and not seek admission in this way.
The Pakistan Association of Private Medical and Dental Institutions (PAMI), which has criticised the centralised admissions system a number of times and declared it to be a major source of corruption, issued a statement on Monday based on comments from parents of students telling the council not to play with students’ futures.
The statement, by Malik Riaz Ahmad, Rasheed Ahmad, Chaudhry Afzal Hussain and Abdul Aziz, appealed to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and National Health Services Minister Saira Afzal Tarar to play a role in resolving the dispute between private colleges and the PMDC.
They said students should have the option to choose any college and continue their studies peacefully, adding that confrontations between the council and private colleges had put the future of their children at stake.
“Claims and counter claims by both the sides have confused us to the extent that we are unable to decide where to enrol our children and where not. We fear that if the issue is not settled on emergent basis it could spoil the future of our children,” the statement read.
Council member Dr Amir Bandesha said the council has the power to issue criteria to improve medical education, and the courts had upheld the council’s decisions.
“There are 154 medical and dental colleges across the country, of which 104 are private. Whenever private colleges admit students on their own, it has been observed that students who have scored 90pc were dropped, while students who scored 80pc were admitted. Colleges also force students to buy a prospectus for Rs 6,000, force them to pay for entry tests and so on,” he claimed.
He explained that under the centralised admissions policy, students will pay Rs 1,000 to take a centralised test. “Moreover, we decided that public sector universities will complete admissions first, and then the process for private colleges will begin. We are aware that some colleges have started admissions on their own, but their students will not be registered, so it is in the interest of students and parents that they do not seek admission without the centralised entry test,” he said.