King Edward Medical University (KEMU) is planning to set up its own dental college with 60 seats starting from the next academic session in 2013, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The KEMU Faculty of Dentistry will have 60 seats 10 for foreigners and the rest for Pakistanis – as well as its own entry test. “We plan to train the best dentists here,” said Dr Riaz Ahmed Warraich, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery and the main man behind the project.
But the new college will mean that the 100 students of the De Montmorency College of Dentistry who have physiology and surgery classes at KEMU will have to go elsewhere for their studies.
“As per Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) rules, we cannot have 160 dental students with our current faculty and facilities. We will write a letter to De Montmorency in a couple of days informing them that from the next session their students won’t have their classes here as we will be having our own BDS students,” Prof Warraich told The Tribune.
A senior official at De Montmorency said that they had not been formally notified by the KEMU of the plans and would not comment until they were.
Prof Warraich said that all procedural requirements for setting up the college had been met and it had gained approval from the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and the Punjab government.
He said that the first batch of students would be admitted in 2013. Of the 60 seats, 50 will be filled on merit while 10 will be available for foreign students from the Middle East.
He said that the merit students would be selected after they give an entry test. He said that they planned to design their own entry test for Bachelor of Dental Sciences (BDS) students rather than make them take the entry test administered by the University of Health Sciences (UHS). He said the grades required to get into the new school would be higher than the grades required to get into De Montmorency.
“It sounds odd to me that one university administers the entry test for admissions to another university. KEMU is a university and should have its own entry test … we are not bound to follow the UHS test,” Prof Warraich said.
The college will advertise seats for the foreign students in newspapers in the Middle East. The fee for BDS will be $13,000 (Rs1.182 million) a year for foreign students, he said, while local students would be charged around a tenth of that, the same rate as students at other public medical colleges in the Punjab. The Interior Ministry would vet the foreign students, he added.
Prof Warraich said that around Rs400 million was required to set up the dentistry school at the KEMU, while setting up a dental school from scratch would require about Rs1 billion. He said that the necessary funding would be included in the next budget. He said that the university had recently sanctioned the purchase of 25 dental chairs for Rs10 million.
He said that they had enough teachers to handle the first three years of the BDS. “We will have to hire more teachers when our students reach the final year, but that will be four years from now. By then things will have been streamlined and be on-track,” he added.
He said the capacity of the school would eventually be increased to 100 seats.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.