LAHORE, Dec 16: The dental section of the Punjab Medical College (PMC), Faisalabad, has been operating without recognition by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) for the last four years, it is learnt.
Now when the first batch of 50 dentist graduates is ready to leave the college, the PMC’s dental section administration is unable to award them degrees, a senior official told Dawn.
The PMDC did not recognise the section for its failure to meet faculty requirements.
He said the final year Bachelors of Dental Surgery (BDS) students admitted to the college in 2009 were taught by two demonstrators instead of qualified teachers.
The dental section lacks 75 specified dental chairs which is a necessary requirement under the laid down rules and regulations of the PMDC. At present, 250 BDS students are studying in the PMC.
The Punjab government has been at the center of controversies because of heath related deaths – scores of deaths in a dengue breakout in 2011, over 100 deaths due to a deadly medicine distributed to heart patients and then another 19 deaths due to a cough syrup – all in Lahore.
The PMC’s dental section is the second newly-established state-run institute in Punjab after Dera Ghazi Khan Medical College which has also been admitting students and conducting exams without approval by the PMDC, the only medical education regulatory body in the country.
The PMC is said to be one of the largest medical institutions in Punjab which holds 300 admissions every year. After public medical institutions in Lahore, the PMC is the choice of medical students.
The dental section was established on the directions of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in 2009.
The Punjab government got in trouble when the PMDC took notice of ‘backdoor’ admissions of the BDS students.
The PMDC has issued warnings of strict action to the University of Health Sciences and the PMC and sought explanations for the admissions against the rules and regulations.
The official said the Punjab government seemed non-serious in following the rules. Earlier, he said, the dental section of the Nishtar Medical College, Multan, had also been admitting students for many years without approval by the PMDC. PMDC Registrar Dr Ahmad Nadeem Akbar wrote to the Punjab health secretary on September 3, 2012, that neither the PMC’s dental section faculty registration is complete nor the department has properly filled in the proforma for inspection for recognition.
The letter said the dental section is not recognized under the PMDC Ordinance, 1962, and that training activities in an unrecognized dental college tantamount to playing with the future of the students as well as flouting of the law.
“You are hereby directed to fulfill Council requirements and criteria for recognition and not to admit or train any BDS students till recognition is granted to your institution under the PM&DC Ordinance, 1962,” the PMDC registrar said in the letter.
The PMDC has also issued similar warning notices to the UHS and PMC as well regarding admissions of the BDS students in unrecognized institution.
The UHS spokesman said that the varsity had nothing to do with the recognition of the medical institutions as it only made admissions and conducted exams.