ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has withdrawn its recent decision of increasing fee of private medical and dental colleges.
As a result, private colleges cannot charge more than Rs642,000 as the annual fee from each student.
Earlier, the council had allowed the colleges to increase the fee from Rs642,000 to Rs800,000 with a condition that they would provide all facilities and quality education to the students and stop receiving donations from them.
“It is unfortunate that the colleges increased the fee but did not bother to provide basic facilities to the students and ensure equipment in the teaching hospitals. We had also directed them to submit affidavits from students stating that they did not give donations at the time of taking admission. But the colleges did not submit the affidavits.
However, we are receiving complaints that the colleges are taking donations of up to Rs2 million from the students,” PMDC President Prof Dr Shabir Lehri told Dawn.
For years, private medicinal colleges have not only been increasing their fees but have also been accused of taking donations from students against admissions. In 2010, the Supreme Court took a suo motu notice of the issue after which it was decided that the per student fee would be Rs550,000 which would be increased by 7pc every year.
However, in 2013 the fee was increased to Rs642,000 but promises made by private medical colleges such as providing 50pc free beds to patients and facilities to students were never fulfilled.
In 2016, the PMDC introduced a central induction system for students to stop receiving donations but the colleges refused to implement it and obtained a stay order from courts across the country.
This year, the colleges wanted to increase the fee to Rs1.3 million and started negotiations with the PMDC. However, some of the members of the council, including former minister Dr Sania Nishtar, suggested that the council should impose its decision rather than negotiating with the colleges. She resigned as the council member last month.
In September 2017, after a number of meetings with the private medical and dental institutions the PMDC increased the fee from Rs642,000 to Rs800,000 and decided that it would be revised every year according to the inflation rate. It was also decided that there would be a centralised induction policy for the students and colleges would not be allowed to take aptitude tests. They would be fined Rs20 million if it was proved that they received donations from students and their annual intake of students would be reduced by 10 students as a penalty.
Dr Lehri said the council had shown serious concerns over opening of admissions in private medical and dental colleges prior to the time frame given by the PMDC.
“It is learnt that a majority of private medical and dental colleges advertised in newspapers and admitted students before October 31 though the admission process in public medical and dental colleges had not been completed. Under the rules, they had to admit students after completion of the admission process in the public sector colleges,” he said.
“As the colleges have violated the agreement, it has been decided that their annual fee would remain Rs642,000.”
Dr Lehri also advised the students to read the admission policy on the website of the PMDC. Any admission taken/granted against these regulations shall be considered as a violation of the PMDC rules.
Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2017