PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has allocated 90 per cent of the seats in private medical and dental colleges for admission in the academic year 2020-21 to the local candidates and the rest to the residents of other provinces.

The development comes in line with a cabinet decision following the permission of the Pakistan Medical Commission, the regulator for medical education in the country.

The Admission Regulations, 2020, announced by the PMC say admission to a medical college, both public and private, requires the passing of the Medical and Dental College Admissions Test (MDCAT) conducted by it across the country.

As revealed by the new policy, the students will be admitted to public sector colleges in their own provinces but there is no restriction like domicile for admission to private medical or dental colleges.

The policy said if a restriction was imposed by a provincial government in exercise of any executive power otherwise vested in the provincial government, it would be accounted for admissions undertaken by the PMC subject to fulfillment of merit.

Move comes over cabinet decision and after PMC consent

As the policy was announced, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa students complained about the centralised admission policy insisting it would block their enrolment in medical and dental colleges as most seats would be filled by the residents of the country’s largest province of Punjab.

They requested the provincial government to take up the issue with the PMC.

On Dec 10, the KP government sent a letter to the PMC saying the provincial cabinet has decided about the allocation of 90 per cent seats in the local privately-owned medical and dental colleges to the students with KP domicile and rest to the candidates from other provinces.

It said the PMC could allocate the leftover seats to other provinces if they stayed vacant after accommodating all local applicants.

Officials said the PMC’s centralsied admission policy had upset the students of KP as it was free for all Pakistanis to get admission through a centralised merit system.

They said in view of the concerns, the KP government took the decision about admission to private medical colleges to benefit local students.

The officials had thought that the centralised admission policy would deprive KP students of enrolment in private medical and dental schools.

Pakistan has 102 medical and 65 dental colleges, mostly in Punjab.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 17 private colleges, including 11 medical and six dental, which have 1,050 MBBS and 325 BDS seats, and most of the students selected in public sector colleges enrol themselves there to become doctors or dentists.

Officials said under the new policy, there would be no domicile restriction for admissions and anyone from across the country could come to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to get admission in some good colleges of the province.

Officials said the PMC had given provinces the option of restricting admission on domicile basis using their executive powers.

They said the PMC, which conducted the MDCAT across the country on Nov 29, would issue the final merit list on Jan 15 and the students qualifying it on ‘merit’ would get admission to their preferred colleges.

They said a student, who had passed the MDCAT exam and obtained 65 per cent or more in the FSc or equivalent exam, would be eligible for admission to a medical or dental college.

The officials said the annual admission fee for KP’s private colleges was Rs1.05 million and Rs50,000 one-time admission fee.

They said Sindh had reserved 95 seats for the local students and five per cent for others.

Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2020

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