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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Association of Private Medical and Dental Institutions (Pami) on Wednesday agreed to reduce agreed on medical and dental college fee by Rs50,000.

The decision was taken on the intervention of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who also said that it would be better to give colleges time to fulfill requirements rather than closing them down.

Last month, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and Pami had reached an agreement for increasing the fee of private medical and dental colleges from Rs800,000 to Rs950,000. It had also been decided that all students will have to pay a Rs50,000 admission fee and a 5pc tax.

It was agreed that students will be required to submit a wealth statement, showing they have five-years’ worth of tuition fee, income tax returns of parents or guardians and will have to submit an insurance certificate to ensure the payment of fees for the remaining duration in case of the demise of a parent or guardian.

Decision was taken after chief justice’s intervention

The positive thing the council and Pami had agreed on was that admissions will be held through a centralised induction policy and that public sector universities will be used for admissions so private institutions cannot ask for donations.

A three-member bench of the judiciary, chaired by the chief justice, was on Wednesday informed of the agreement between Pami and PMDC.

The chief justice said he wants future doctors to be well qualified and well trained as he and his children will get treated by doctors who are currently in medical colleges.

“I have been told that doctors cannot check fever and blood pressure. The PMDC should have power to regulate colleges,” he said.

However, the chief justice said, Pami also has an important role in the private sector. He said students should be able to get education at cheaper rates but the quality of education should not be compromised. Pami then agreed to an increase of Rs100,000 in the fee instead of Rs150,000.

He said the court was satisfied with the steps taken by Pami and its cooperation.

Pami’s counsel said a number of sections were added into the contract without taking the association into confidence and that he hoped it will be taken onboard before legislation.

The court directed the two organisations to reach an implementable solution after holding discussions. He suggested colleges should not be closed and that efforts should be made that they fulfil requirements instead.

PMDC recently closed down Yusra Medical and Dental College Islamabad and Continental Medical College Lahore and their students have been directed to join other colleges which are recognised by the council. Students of both colleges have held protests and press conferences against the council.

In December last year, the chief justice took suo motu notice over the exorbitant fees charged by private medical colleges and the lack of a uniform admissions policy criterion for admission.

The apex court has asked for a detailed report from the PMDC registrar within one week and made it clear it would not allow unjustified increase in fees.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2018