Around 1,000 Pakistani students studying medicine in Cuba have demanded from the Government of Pakistan that, upon their return, they be exempted from sitting for the National Examination Board (NEB) test before practising medicine.
The NEB test is mandatory for foreign medical graduates to qualify for medical practice.
The Cuban government offered 1,000 Cuban Scholarships for Studies in General Comprehensive Medicine (equivalent to MBBS) after the 2005 earthquake. The first batch of 308 students, selected from across Pakistan, had left for Cuba in 2007.
The Pakistani students in Cuba have prepared a detailed report in this regard and sent a copy to the Cuban government.
The report, available to The Express Tribune, details the process through which the students were selected by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). It says that the students had excellent grades in FSc exams and were doing well in Cuba.
The student requested asked that the “comprehensive final State Exam of Cuba held after the completion of medical training in the last year before the award of the degree of Doctor in Medicine (M.D) should be accepted as the final evaluation of Pakistani medical scholars in Cuba, as is done by the respective authorities in 55 other countries.
They have proposed that Pakistani authorities visit Cuba and hold talks with the Cuban authorities concerned.
The students claim that the NEB is meant for foreign graduates who study abroad on self-finance basis, and should therefore not apply to them considering they were granted a scholarship.
A final-year medical student, studying in Cuba, told The Express Tribune via email, that preparing and sitting for the NEB test and IELTS would take them a year. He said a Pakistani delegation comprising former senator Nilofer Bakhtiar, Prof Dr Riaz Hussein Qureshi (HEC adviser) and Prof Dr Abdur Rasheed (PMDC member) had, in 2010, visited the Cuban universities and expressed satisfaction with the quality of education.
The PMDC Registrar Dr Ahmad Nadeem Akbar said the council would not exempt the Pakistani medical students in Cuba from the NEB test. “They had signed a bond, saying they will have to pass the NEB test before starting practice in Pakistan.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2012.
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