Precarious medical students

Diplomatic channels can also be utilised in Kyrgyzstan to retrieve official educational progress

Editorial May 25, 2024


Around 4,000 distressed students have reached Pakistan, fleeing the chaos of violent attacks on international students in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek. These students, who have invested significant time and resources pursuing their medical education abroad, now face uncertainty. This predicament highlights a systemic flaw in Pakistan’s education system, particularly in its recognition of international qualifications. For the affected students who find themselves midway through their medical degrees, the inability to enroll in HEC-recognised medical colleges poses a significant setback.

The ramifications of this issue are profound, not only for the individual students but also for the broader healthcare sector in Pakistan. The country already grapples with a shortage of qualified medical professionals, and the exclusion of competent students holding international qualifications exacerbates this challenge. In response to this dire situation, the PM has formed a committee, whose mandate includes not only examining the current state of medical education but also figuring out how to incentivise students to pursue their medical studies in Pakistan. Firstly, the committee must engage in constructive dialogue with the HEC to explore avenues for the recognition of international qualifications. Simultaneously, efforts should be made to streamline the process of integrating returning students into local medical colleges, ensuring that their prior academic achievements are duly acknowledged and accounted for. This may involve the establishment of special mechanisms or transitional programs tailored to meet the unique needs of these students. Diplomatic channels can also be utilised to engage with the relevant authorities in Kyrgyzstan to retrieve official educational progress.

In order to prevent such future instances, the authorities should work closely with foreign accreditation and regulatory bodies to ensure that Pakistani students are safeguarded abroad and at home. Regular monitoring and evaluation of foreign university students can help identify and eventually rectify any potential issues.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2024.

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