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LAHORE: In an abrupt decision, the Punjab University (PU) has established seven constituent colleges in the health sciences without having any infrastructure and academic facilities.

The varsity has even started admission to 12 BS(Hons) programmes in health sciences without having a dedicated building, laboratory, faculty and staff for the 2017-22 session.

Using the emergency power under section 15 (3) and in anticipation of approval of the syndicate, provisional Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zafar Moeen Nasir has approved the recommendations of the Ad hoc Committee appointed to discharge the functions of the board of studies in medicine and dentistry and in charge dean faculty of health sciences to constitute seven colleges — Medical College, Dental College, Nursing College, Allied Health Sciences College, Physiotherapy College, College of Orthotics and Prosthetic, and College of Public Health.

An official told Dawn the VC usually used emergency power to take vital decisions to carry on day-to-day affairs.

“In such cases (establishment of constituent colleges), a proper exercise is carried out like the matter is referred to board of studies, faculty board and academic council. Unless the basic requirements - a purpose-built building, faculty and staff are made available, such a project is bound to fail,” he said.

“The PU does not give affiliation to a college unless it meets the criteria but in its own (constituent colleges) case it is not following it,” the official said.

In this connection the PU administration has advertised 12 BS (Hons) programmes — Doctor of Physiotherapy, Orthotics and Prosthetic, Medical Lab Technology, Imaging Technology, O.T Technology, Anesthesia Technology, Dental Technology, Nursing, Optometry, Physician Assistant and Nursing — in health sciences for the 2017-22 session. Entrance test for the programmes is on Oct 20. Interestingly, all these programmes are on a self-supporting basis while none of them is being run in the regular morning session.

“According to the rules, the varsity cannot start a self-supporting programme unless it has a morning programme. This is another illegality the administration is committing,” the official said.

On the other hand, the administration has appointed retired Prof Dr Muhammad Awais acting dean of faculty of medicine and dentistry on a contract in violation of the laid down criteria. Under the rules, “A dean of each faculty shall be appointed by the chancellor among the three senior most professors in the faculty for a period of three years.” The Higher Education Department has also taken notice of this illegal appointment and sought a reply from the varsity.

PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zafar Moeen Nasir told Dawn that the varsity was in the process of hiring the regular faculty for these 12 programmes and it would be completed before the start of the session. “The new faculty will also be available for serving its health centre.” He said the classes would be held at the undergraduate building on New Campus and a faculty from a pool of 60 teachers would also be available for the purpose.

For its health sciences programmes, Prof Nasir said the varsity had signed an MoU with King Edward Medical University whose curriculum would be taught in such disciplines. He said the varsity was meeting all requirements of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council and the Higher Education Commission regarding its health sciences programmes. The administration had also met the required criteria in establishing the seven constituent colleges, he said.

About the PU’s constituent colleges, he said there was a need of 500-bed hospital for the medical college . “The Punjab government has attached Mian Munshi Hospital and Mian Nawaz Sharif Hospital to our medical college. Besides, we are developing our health centre into a 180-bed health facility and also building required laboratories,” he added.

The VC defended the appointment of Dr Awais, saying he had been hired as professor and given the acting charge of dean till regular appointment. “Dr Awais is serving at the varsity health centre as well thus giving double services to the varsity,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2017