PESHAWAR: Pakistan Medical Commission, the regulator of medical education in the country, is not allowing additional seats to students from erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas in the medical colleges, according to sources.

They said that the commission wanted the colleges to increase the seats after a proper inspection.

PMC allowed the medical colleges to induct 272 students, double of their allotted quota, last year but it was a one-time decision and this year 136 students will get admission on reserved seats.

Sources said that 78 students instead of 38 were admitted to medical colleges in other provinces of the country on reserved seats last year.

Commission says reserved seats can’t be increased without proper inspection

“That was for one year only. PMC has to decide if it wants to extend it,” Health Secretary Syed Imtiaz Hussain Shah, told Dawn.

Sources said that PMC wanted the medical colleges to increase their total seats after a proper procedure and only then admit the additional students.

“Last year, Khyber Girls Medical College Peshawar admitted 50 extra students than the sanctioned seats but we need to carry out inspection before permitting more seats on permanent basis,” they added.

PMC allows 50 seats for a new college and that too after conducting full inspection. KGMC has been allowed to admit 100 additional students but it cannot be allowed to enroll 150 students without inspection.

“The provincial government should increase the seats in medical colleges to be able to induct additional students.

The second option, they colleges have, is to decrease their merit seats and accommodate the ex-Fata students but that is also not feasible because the province has already lesser seats for open merit considering its population,” said sources.

The federal cabinet had approved a summary entitled “Quota of Fata students in education, health and other institutions should be doubled and retained for 10 years after re-integration with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” in 2017. PMC had asked the admitting medical universities to implement the decision only for one year due to which additional students were enrolled last year.

However, PMC has directed the colleges that this will be one-time decision and from the academic year 2020-21 onwards the additional and all other quota seats should be accommodated within the maximum allocated seats to the college and not as over and above seats.

Last month, Khyber Medical University, the implementing body for admissions in the province, held meetings with PMC and Senate Committee on Safron to inform them about the latest situation as admissions were round the corner.

KMU has also informed the health department about the situation but still there is no response from PMC.

The cabinet had decided that quota for Fata students should be maintained for next 10 years and one year passed during which additional students were inducted. KMU has sought approval from PMC to double the reserved seats for nine more years in one go, so that it could include them in the admission process.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 136, most of the reserved seats, for students of former Fata.

The province admitted 272, the double number of students, in medical colleges last year after approval and 78 were admitted to medical institutions in other provinces.

In 2019-20, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa allocated 50 additional seats for tribal students in Khyber Girls Medical College Peshawar, 15 in Gomal Medical College Dera Ismail Khan, 10 each in Kohat Institute of Medical Sciences, Bannu Medical College, Nowshera Medical Complex, Gajju Khan Medical College Swabi, and Saidu Medical College Swat, and five in Bacha Khan Medical College Mardan.

Five additional seats were created in Kohat Institute of Medical Sciences and Khyber College of Dentistry Peshawar, and three each in Ayub Dental Section Abbottabad and Bacha Khan Dental Section Mardan where Fata-domiciled students were admitted for the academic session 2019-20.

However, PMC says that these seats were approved after inspection and there will be no increase in quota of seats till re-inspection.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2020

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