Helping Punjab’s medical students

The fate of 950 students hangs in the balance as the Punjab government admitted them to college without due process.

Ali Usman July 26, 2011
One needs to score at least 82 per cent marks in Intermediate exams and then pass an entry test to gain admission into any public medical college in Punjab. This ensures that those who do eventually study medicine are among the best and brightest in the province.

However, the fate of some 950 such intelligent students is hanging in the balance as the Punjab government didn’t take approval from the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) before admitting these students to medical schools.

Last year, four new public medical colleges – in Sialkot, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sahiwal and Gujranwala – were established with a capacity of 100 students each. In addition to this, 550 seats were increased in the province’s existing medical colleges. None of these seats, however, were approved by the PMDC which has now said that the provincial government did not follow the required criteria.

The clock is ticking fast and MBBS (part I) exams are due in September. The PMDC has yet to register these students and without that they cannot sit for the exams, or even continue their studies. The problem is that both the government and the PMDC are, for now, sticking to their stands, so the students may end up suffering. Students, the real stakeholders, are increasingly anxious over the issue for they have invested a full year in their medical education which may have been completely wasted.

The Punjab chief minister has time and again said education is his top priority. So, he should come good on his words since this isn’t the matter of a few students but close to a thousand. And it doesn’t concern a private institution but the province’s public sector medical colleges.

If the PMDC thinks that certain rules were not followed by the Punjab government, it should raise this issue with the government and leave the students out of it. The students were led to believe that they had satisfied all requirements for admission.

On what moral grounds can they now be told that they can no longer continue their education?


WRITTEN BY:
Ali Usman The writer is a Lahore-based reporter for The Express Tribune
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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