New admission policy may dent students’ chances to get medical education

Published October 12, 2020
The centralised admission policy introduced by Pakistan Medical Commission is likely to deprive students of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of getting enrolled in private medical and dental colleges, according to medical teachers. — INP/File
The centralised admission policy introduced by Pakistan Medical Commission is likely to deprive students of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of getting enrolled in private medical and dental colleges, according to medical teachers. — INP/File

PESHAWAR: The centralised admission policy introduced by Pakistan Medical Commission is likely to deprive students of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of getting enrolled in private medical and dental colleges, according to medical teachers.

“We cannot compete with Punjab due its large population of students there. They would fill majority seats in KP colleges because of centralised merit list for private colleges,” former dean of a medical college told this scribe.

Pakistan has a total of 167 colleges, including 102 medical and 65 dental, bulk of which are located in Punjab. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a total of 17 private colleges including 11 medical and six dental, which have 1,425 seats, and most of the students, who are not selected in public sector colleges, go there to become doctors.

About 200,000 students including 80,000 from Punjab, 50,000 from Sindh and 35,000 each from Balochistan and KP are admitted to public and private medical colleges every year in accordance with the merit list prepared by the respective admitting universities.

Educationists urge KP govt to take up the issue with PMC

However, this year students will be admitted to private colleges through a centralised merit list and those qualifying the list can get admission in any province.

The Admission Regulations-2020 announced by the newly-established Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) say that admission to a medical college, public or private, requires having mandatorily passed the Medical and Dental College Admissions Test (MDCAT) conducted by PMC across the country.

For admission to a private medical or dental college, no restriction like domicile of the student exists. If a restriction is imposed by a provincial government in exercise of any executive power otherwise vesting in the provincial government, it will be accounted for admissions undertaken by Pakistan Medical Commission subject to fulfillment of merit.

It means that any student seeking admission to any medical or dental college will be required to have passed the MDCAT examination conducted by PMC.

The passing marks for MDCAT examination will be 60 per cent.

“Last time because of our combined efforts, defunct-Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) allowed admission on domicile basis in the province. If our private sector is open to other provinces, then our own students will face difficulties in getting admission in standard colleges because we can’t compete with Punjab in merit,” said a senior doctor.

He said that there would be no restrictions of domicile as per new PMC regulations. Anyone from the whole Pakistan can come to KP to get admission in some good colleges of the province.

He said that PMC had given the option to the provinces that they could restrict the admission on domicile base at their executive powers. He said that they requested the chief minister to save the students.

“If we don’t get admission in our own province, then how can we fulfil the requirements of our own province? Students of other provinces graduating from medical and dental colleges will serve in their own areas, therefore, we need to make the provincial merit list for the private colleges,” said the senior doctor.

In early September, PMDC issued New Regulations-2020, under which it changed criteria for admission to medical and dental colleges in the country and made it obligatory for private colleges to enrol candidates from own provinces and offer seats to the candidates from outside only if locals are not available.

The KP government has conveyed its concern to PMDC regarding centralised admission.

But after the PMDC’s replacement with PMC, as a result of a law passed by the Parliament, the central admission policy has again been legalised that would adversely affect the students of KP and Balochistan.

An admissions committee consisting of three members of the council nominated by the President and two representatives of private colleges will oversee the conduct of the centralised national admission system. PMC will invite applications on a national level from students seeking admission to private medical and dental colleges after the announcement of the MDCAT result.

PMC will on Jan 1, 2021, issue a national merit list for each private college.

A student having passed the MDCAT exam and obtained 65 per cent or more in the FSc or equivalent exam, will be eligible for admission to a medical or dental college.

Educationists say that provincial government should take up the issue with PMC to safeguard the rights of the students, otherwise, most of the seats would be taken by other provinces.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2020

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