LAHORE: Private medical and dental colleges in Punjab have agreed to halt their admissions process and to stop asking students to deposit admission fees before the first merit list of public medical and dental colleges is displayed, a handout issued by the University of Health Services (UHS) stated.
According to the handout, the 14 affiliated private medical and dental colleges that were represented, have agreed to centralise their admissions process by voluntarily handing over their MBBS and BDS admissions to the UHS to be completed in the same manner as the public colleges.
The decisions were made in a meeting held at the UHS on Friday. UHS vice chancellor (VC) Prof MH Mubbashar chaired the meeting.
Prof Mubbashar told the participants that the UHS would conduct another entrance test on October 14, in accordance with the orders of the Lahore High Court. This entrance test would be open to all candidates who secured 60 per cent or more in FSc or equivalent examination and who could not sit for the July 20 entrance test. He said that this year, due to litigation, admissions in public medical and dental colleges had been delayed.
The VC said that, according to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council’s (PM&DC) regulations, private colleges could not start their admissions process and ask students to deposit fees before the merit list for public colleges is displayed. He said that it was disconcerting that many private colleges had completed their admissions process and were now asking for admission fees. Prof Mubbashar said “Some applicants have scored very well in FSc and the UHS gave a central entrance test but do not know if they will get a seat in any public medical college. These applicants feel compelled to pay fees in private colleges to secure their spot.”
The VC also said that private colleges should wait until admissions in the public colleges were complete. The representatives of private colleges agreed to stop their admissions process till the first merit list of public colleges is displayed.
It was agreed in the meeting that private medical colleges would disregard the scores of the tests they had given in the admissions process. However, they are free to hold interviews to determine aptitude and give those appropriate weight, as permitted by the UHS.
The merit list will be prepared according to PM&DC’s formula, matriculation marks would get 10 per cent weight, FSc 40 per cent and the centralised entrance test would count for 50 per cent. The participants were told that under PM&DC’s regulations, private medical colleges were required to complete their admissions process by November 30 and submit the list of applicants and their selected candidates to the UHS.
The meeting also discussed that many private colleges had unlawfully introduced the category of “overseas student.” Admissions under this category were frequently made following the payment of donations and extraordinary fees. It was pointed out that current rules did not recognise such a category. Only Pakistani nationals with dual nationality could be considered for foreign seats which must not exceed 10 per cent of the total allocation for a college. It was also decided that the Punjab government and the Higher Education Commission would be asked to create a new category allowing seats to be reserved for expatriate Pakistanis’ children.
The colleges were also directed to follow PM&DC’s directions regarding fees and other charges. The PM&DC rules say, “No medical or dental institution in the private sector shall charge fee more than Rs500,000 per year per student. This fee shall exclude university fee, taxes, hostel fee, transport fee and one time admission fee. One time admission fee shall not exceed more than 15 per cent of the fee per annum.
Copies of all receipts shall be submitted to PM&DC. Any monetary demand or any other charges or donations on any pretext other than the annual fee or any other non-compliance of these regulations shall be construed a major violation and shall make the institution liable for action under Section 22 of the PM&DC Ordinance 1962.”
The representatives were reminded that the UHS had directed the affiliation committee to inspect all affiliated private colleges to assess their adherence to the UHS and PM&DC’s rules and regulations and to report cases of violations. The VC said that private colleges should develop a code of ethics and follow it strictly.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2010.