The Pakistani students who were sent by Higher Education Commission to Cuba for studying medical education might have gotten a bad deal. The aspiring doctors sent on scholarships will have to payback in the form of an extra exam and an additional year when they return to their country.
The authority for certifying the medical practitioners, Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), will not accept these Cuba-returned students for house jobs without an exam.
Presently, there are 950 medical students enrolled in different colleges and universities of Cuba, who have been sent by HEC on scholarships. Earlier, the country had offered 1,000 medical seats for Pakistani students after 2005 earthquake.
According to some students, who have recently returned to spend their vacations, PMDC’s policy to take tests from the medical graduates after completion of education in Cuba would probably lead to wastage of a one whole year.
“This is an illogical policy. We complete six years of our studies from Cuba and the standard of the medical course is much higher there,” said a student, who wished not to be named.
The student stated that PMDC would ask them to appear in a test, which is held after every six months to make them eligible for a house job.
The students added that such additional fatigue would just waste their time as they are entitled to do a house job in Cuba.
Another student said that PMDC team had visited Cuba to observed the medical system there and “they were fully satisfied.
“After six years of our course in Cuba, we will have significant knowledge and experience and we should be allowed to serve the people without further hurdles,” he added.
Under this policy, said aspiring doctor, at least one year would be wasted as we will have to wait for six months to appear for the test and then spend another six months for the house job.
When contacted, HEC Executive Director Sohail Naqvi said that the commission is making efforts to resolve this issue. He added that HEC is in touch with PMDC for addressing the concern of the students.
“We have to recognise the system of other countries where we send our students for studies. Cuba does have a better medical system,” he said.
Naqvi added that three years are still left for the current batch to graduate and by the time the issue would be amicably resolved.
Despite repeated efforts, PMDC’s version could not be gathered.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2011.