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LAHORE, Jan 8: The Pakistan National Board (PNB) has proposed a uniform entrance test at the universities imparting postgraduate medical and dental education all over the country.

The PNB has also recommended a common framework of qualification and uniform programmes by constituting national board of all academic programmes with focus on duration, curriculum and requirements of research, logbook, learning, examinations and quality assurance.

The proposal came at the fourth meeting of the PNB held at the University of Medical and Health Sciences in Nawabshah on Saturday, a source told Dawn.

The meeting was attended by the heads and representatives of 18 medical universities and postgraduate medical institutions. The institutions are: King Edward Medical University, Lahore; Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro; People University of Medical and Health Sciences, Nawabshah; Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Medical University, Larkana; Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad; JPMC; University Karachi; University of Kohat; Aga Khan University, Karachi; Post Graduate Medical Institute (PGMI), Lahore; University of Lahore; Armed Forces PGMI, Rawalpindi; Punjab University; ISRA University, Hyderabad; Mohayuddine University, Azad Kashmir; PIMS, Islamabad; Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplant (SIUT); Ziauddin University, Karachi; and Shifa College of Medicine, Islamabad.

The source said the members of the universities and other institutions under the banner of the Pakistan National Board had decided to create uniform standards of postgraduate medical education.

He said the postgraduate medical and dental education in Pakistan had a history of more than a century as the MD, MS and MDS were awarded in 1914, 1915 and 1935, respectively. Now the number of universities awarding these degrees has increased.

However, at present the country’s medical institutions required at least 225,000 specialists while their available strength is only 22,000.

In view of these facts, he said, the universities had decided to work together to achieve the targets and bring about uniformity in the postgraduate medical and dental education at university level in certain fields like the duration of similar programmes, entry requirements of similar programmes, criteria of number of seats in these programmes (bed and teacher ratio with students), criteria to become supervisor/trainers, evaluation/progression/examination, compulsory research in programme, quality assurance, student exchange, adoption of best international practices like European Credit Accumulation and Transfer System (ECTS) and learning strategies and bloom taxonomy of learning level (USA-based).

The meeting resolved that the hospitals should be under the control of the universities for better patient care, he said. The meeting also approved the logo of the PNB.

An MoU was signed between the universities and PGMIs for common framework of level and qualification, uniform entrance test and programmes and faculty development, he said.

The members elected PUMHS Vice-Chancellor Prof Azam Yousfani as president of the board for the 2012 and Prof S.M. Awais as national coordinator. The next meeting of the PNB will be held in the last week of March at the KEMU.