King Edward Medical University alumni have criticised the university’s new policy for induction to the Fellowship of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (FCPS) Part II programme, saying it discriminates against KEMU FCPS Part I graduates.
The merit list for admission to the FCPS Part II trainees was put up at KEMU on Saturday, with the final interviews scheduled for Monday. Up until January, KEMU graduates would expect to automatically get admission to the FCPS programme, with the rest of the admissions decided on the basis of a merit list. Under the new policy, KEMU students compete with other students on the merit list.
KEMU graduates complained that this was not the case at other public medical colleges in the Punjab. “Allama Iqbal Medical College, Services Institute of Medical Sciences Lahore, Nishtar Medical College Multan, and other medical schools give preference to their own MBBS graduates while inducting FCPS trainees,” said a KEMU graduate. “It is an injustice that Kemcolains [KEMU alumni] aren’t being given preference at their own institute.”
He also objected to the way the merit list was drawn up, saying that candidates who achieved distinctions or won gold medals were given extra points, without taking into account the institute that they studied at.
“Graduates from China, Russia, Romania and other countries get more marks as they give out a lot of distinctions there. In KEMU, just four or five candidates out of 350 get distinctions. In those countries 50 out of 100 candidates get distinctions,” said the KEMU graduate, who finds himself below several graduates of Chinese colleges on the merit list.
A KEMU professor who is on the Post Graduate Selection Committee, which drew up the merit list, was critical of the change in policy, saying it hurt KEMU graduates. “The KEMU has its own post-graduate degrees of Master of Surgery (MS) and Doctor of Medicine (MD). It doesn’t want its graduates to go for FCPS, it wants them to go for MS and MD programmes,” he said.
He said that the FCPS examinations were recognised worldwide and were more credible than the MD or MS degrees.
But Professor Syed Muhammad Awais, the newly appointed chairman of the Post Graduate Selection Committee, said that KEMU graduates did get a preference in the merit list, in the form of 10 additional marks.
“The merit formula was drawn up to get the best candidates. If a graduate of a Chinese college has performed better and is higher up the list, he has a right to be inducted as an FCPS trainee. The merit formula wasn’t drawn up just to oblige a few people,” said Prof Awais.
He said that the final selection of 76 candidates would be made after the interviews on Monday. He said many candidates did not turn up for the interviews. The pre-interview merit list includes 228 names.
The merit list marks candidates out of 100, with 25 marks for the interview. Candidates with a first division in each year during their MBBS get 10 marks. Winners of distinctions get 10 marks and winners of gold medals also get 10 marks. KEMU graduates get an additional 10 marks, while those who did house jobs at Mayo Hospital get five extra marks.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2012.