FAISALABAD: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has abolished merit-based admission policy for medical colleges and instead reserved 50 per cent seats for boys and the other 50 per cent for girls.

The PMDC has issued a notification and informed health secretaries of the four provinces and secretary of the National Health Services Regulations and Coordination department of its decision.

The notification says that at a meeting on Feb 4 the council discussed the growing trend among girls of acquiring medical education, coupled with their tendency to leave the profession after having done so or not joining it at all.

Also read: PMDC waives off fee for institutions

It decided to set aside half the seats for boys and the other half for girls. The institutions have been asked to fill the seats in the two categories on the basis of merit.

“The decision will be implemented in undergraduate public and private sector medical/dental colleges from the new admission year 2014-2015. It does not apply to the colleges for girls only,” the notification says.

Different associations of doctors have been demanding a quota-based system for admissions to medical colleges because of the realisation that a majority of girls who acquire medical education do not join the profession for different reasons.

The secretary of the Pakistan Medical Association’s Faisalabad chapter, Dr Mohammad Irfan, praised the decision but said the PMDC had announced a merit-based admission policy only a few months ago. He advised the government to implement the new policy from next year.

He said the government should make it mandatory for girls to serve in healthcare facilities after graduation.

Sources expressed fears that the government might fail to implement the new policy because some people would challenge it in court.

They said the government should bar doctors from going abroad for employment.

On the one hand, they said, many girl graduates did not join the profession but on the other a growing number of men left the country every year because they were offered handsome salary abroad.

They said the government should inform people that the new policy had been introduced to increase the strength of working doctors and not to restrict girls’ admission to medical colleges.

Although the PMDC’s decision has curtailed the rights of girl students, it has been welcomed by some lady doctors.

Dr Sumera, a child specialist at the Punjab Medical College, said presently 70 per cent of seats in the medical colleges were occupied by girls but it had been noted that many female graduates did not join the profession.

“The government is spending a hefty amount on medical colleges but because of the trend, the funds are going down the drain and the nation is suffering due to shortage of doctors,” she said.

Dr Khurram Sohail Raja, secretary of the Medical Teachers Association, Faisalabad, said the country had been facing a severe shortage of doctors, particularly in rural areas, which was evident from vacant posts at basic health units, rural health centres and tehsil headquarters hospitals.

He said boys were more interested in job after graduation than girls but many of them failed to get admission to a college because of open merit admission policy.

Published in Dawn, September 27th , 2014

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