LAHORE: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has finally stopped the private medical and dental colleges from charging `excessive` tuition fee from the students admitted before the 2018 session.
The PMDC has declared that the owners of all private medical and dental colleges of Pakistan would charge the students admitted before the 2018 session the fee that was mentioned in the prospectus at the time.
According to the PMDC rules and regulations of 2013, the institutions shall charge tuition fee Rs 642,000 per annum per student, excluding university examination fee, taxes, hostel fee, transport fee and one-time admission fee, which shall not be more than Rs 50,000.
Later, under new regulations in 2018, the council revised the tuition fee and increased it to Rs950,000 per annum, making it clear that the institutions could not charge more from the students admitted prior to the revised rules. However, institution owners violated the regulations claiming that the council had allowed them to charge a fee from all the students -old or new.
The PMDC in its ad hoc council meeting held in July had ultimately made it clear that all the private medical colleges would charge Rs 950,000 per annum from the students admitted from the 2018 session onwards.
Presently, around 118 medical and dental colleges, including 46 in Punjab, were admitting students. “The council clarified that if a college notifies a fee package for the students in its prospectus for or other documents for five years it shall be bound by that and under no circumstances to ask for more in view of the well-organised principles of Promissory estoppels and Locus Poenitentiae,” reads a notification issued by the PMDC on Monday.
The notification came after over 150 students from private medical and dental colleges moved the Lahore High Court against the owners of their institutions for charging `illegal fee` from them.
“The council observed that anyone who is charging the fee above the prescribed limit would violate the regulations, which is punishable as per PM&DC law,” the notification further reads.
The council also empowered the students to write to the PMDC against his/her institution in case excessive fee was charged even after this notification so that action could be taken against the college in question.
Explaining the background, an official told Dawn that a majority of the private institutions had misinterpreted the regulations of 2018 and started charging the increased fee from old students too. Many of the owners had even warned the students that they would not send their admissions or expel them from the colleges for not submit-ting the Rs 950,000 tuition fee, creating panic and a sense of insecurity.
The students and their parents were facing threats since 2018 and they had also protested several times, but the institutions did not listen to them despite repeated requests.
He said the provincial admission committee for medical and dental colleges had in July strongly recommended punitive action against such colleges.
“Meeting under the chairmanship of University of Health Sciences Vice-Chancellor Prof Javed Akram, the admission committee had heard the students and their parents. Over 150 students and their parents narrated stories of alleged blackmail by the institution owners,” the official said.
“The representatives of private medical and dental colleges, Pakistan Medical Association and government officials were also present on the occasion. After detailed deliberations, the committee had given a final verdict in support of the students and recommended the matter to the PMDC for a final decision,” he added.