LAHORE: The University of Health Sciences (UHS) and the Pakistan Association of Private Medical and Dental Institutions (PAMI) have ‘locked horns” over central induction policy recently enforced by the Punjab government for admissions to the public and private medical colleges across the province.

The UHS claimed that the owners and principals of 46 private sector medical and dental colleges in Punjab expressed their confidence in the varsity with regards to central admissions policy in a meeting held here on Friday.

On the other hand, the PAMI says most of the private medical colleges have rejected the policy, boycotted the proceedings of the UHS, declaring the scheme illegal and in violation of the laid down rules and regulations.

Both sides kept sticking to their respective positions in the hours-long activities witnessed in and outside the UHS on Friday.

A UHS spokesperson says that all participants in a crucial meeting chaired by UHS Vice-Chancellor Prof Ahsan Waheed Rathore here on Friday unanimously agreed to enforce the central induction policy in Punjab in letter and spirit.

He said the UHS VC addressed the owners and principals of private sector medical colleges and briefed them on the admission process.

During the meeting, Prof Rathore explained that in accordance with the Punjab government’s policy, admissions to both government and private colleges shall be centralised with the aim of ensuring merit and transparency.

He noted that the provincial government’s policy was formulated under the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Act 2022.

The UHS VC assured the owners of private medical colleges that MBBS and BDS admissions would be completed timely, and all seats would be filled on merit.

He also carefully considered the recommendations presented by the representatives of colleges and pledged to address their concerns related to the admissions.

He further assured that the UHS will coordinate with other universities regarding the admissions.

The process of receiving applications for admissions to the government and private sector medical and dental colleges will commence under UHS on October 16.

On the other hand, the PAMI representatives held a press conference outside the UHS saying most of the private medical colleges boycotted the scheduled meeting of the varsity and walked out.

The association’s acting president Dr Mian Abdul Rasheed told media persons that the policy was designed and enforced over night, without taking into confidence the major stakeholders, including owners of the private medical and dental colleges.

He lamented that the Punjab government had officially released the admission policy for the upcoming academic session of 2023-24, specifically tailored for medical and dental colleges within the province.

The PAMI president said the central induction policy proved to be a failed experiment in the past, plagued by numerous issues.

He highlighted that in both 2018 and 2019 a total of 230 seats remained vacant due to the inadequacies of the controversial induction policy.

Dr Rasheed claimed that the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) had earlier abandoned this policy.

He also regretted that under the new controversial policy the UHS was authorised to get Rs1 million fee to its own account, declaring it an absolutely illegal step and a violation of the rights of the private medical and dental colleges.

“We strongly reject the central induction policy for the admissions to the private medical and dental colleges”, PAMI acting president said and announced that the scope of the agitation would be expanded in the days to come.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2023

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