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KING Edward Medical University (KEMU) hospitals

KEMU demands govt bring attached hospitals under its discipline
Lahore, June 26, 2008: King Edward Medical University (KEMU), Lahore, has moved provincial government for bringing three attached hospitals under the administrative discipline of the university once again.

The three hospitals including Mayo Hospital, Lady Willington Hospital and Lady Aitchison Hospital, previously functioning under the umbrella of teaching institution, were detached after King Edward Medical College's upgrade to a university and awarded an autonomous status functioning directly under the Health Department, Punjab.

KEMU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, while exclusively talking to us, observed that the autonomy to KEMU's attached hospitals had badly affected the coordination amongst the institutions. It is only here at KEMU that three hospitals are working totally independently whereas all other hospitals are working under the administrative control of the Principal or Chief Executive of their parent teaching institution.

However, he informed that the Punjab government had been mulling over the proposal to bring three hospitals under the administrative control of Vice Chancellor of the King Edward Medical University.

The Vice Chancellor also vehemently rejected the proposed King Edward Medical University (Amendment) Ordinance 2008 which had proposed eligibility of non-doctors for the post of Vice Chancellor of this university. The Academic Council of the KEMU has also unanimously opposed the ordinance which, if approved by the Punjab Assembly, will permit appointments of army generals, bureaucrats and engineers as Vice Chancellor of KEMU. It has recommended that only medical doctors/professors with required experience should be considered for the post of Vice Chancellor of the KEMU, as it will be greatly detrimental if any non-doctor heads a medical university.

He said former Punjab Governor/Chancellor Khalid Maqbool, due to pressure from certain people, introduced KEMU (Amendment) Ordinance 2008 after bringing changes in KEMU Act 2005 which would not do any good to the university.

After taking over the charge of the office of Vice Chancellor, Prof Zafarullah Khan said he had got the support of a team of highly competent and thoroughly professional professors which had taken many initiatives in the interest of this nascent university within a short period of time.

While mentioning some of the initiatives in this regard, the VC said that although King Edward Medical University had been set up two and a half years ago after KEMU Act 2005 became effective yet rules & regulations of university were not framed.

After taking over the charge as Vice Chancellor, he said the KEMU administration had given first priority to this problem as university's rules and regulations were being framed under KEMU Act 2005 with the consensus of the faculty members and assistance of a law firm which would soon be implemented with the approval of the Chancellor/Punjab Governor. However, he said a chapter of rules & regulations with regard to the selection of Controller of Examinations, Additional Controller of Examinations and Assistant Controller of Examinations had already been framed separately whose approval had also been given by Punjab Governor/Chancellor Salman Taseer. As a result, the KEMU administration has advertised the posts of Examination Branch for selection on regular basis. The selection of staff on regular basis will greatly help in the establishment and smooth functioning of the Examinations Branch of the university.

Prof Zafarullah Khan said it was a difficult time to take over as Vice Chancellor of King Edward Medical University when most of the administrative staff, previously running the affairs of the university, was either removed due to termination of reemployment contracts awarded after retirement or transferred. The services of Controller of Examinations, Deputy Controller of Examinations, Director Works & Maintenance and Director Planning & Development were terminated due to their above 60 years of age. The Registrar of King Edward Medical University, a CSP officer, was promoted to BPS-20 and transferred. The posts of heads of different departments became vacant. This large vacuum put administration in a difficult situation.

However, he said applications were invited from faculty members for the posts of Registrar, Controller of Examinations and Additional Controller of Examinations as additional responsibilities. The Vice Chancellor, by exercising powers delegated to him, made selection on the posts purely on merit as, unlike Pro-Vice Chancellor or Deans, these posts were filled on overall capability and not on the basis of seniority alone.

During a period of less than two months, the VC said the KEMU administration looked into the matter of delay in the disbursement incentive/allowance to the teachers of basic science departments of all categories who had been waiting for payments along with arrears of seven months. The KEMU's new administration approached the Health Department and Finance Department and finally succeeded in getting the outstanding amount of Rs 6.3 million and these arrears were distributed amongst a total of 125 teachers. Each teacher got approximately Rs 60,000 on an average in arrears. Besides, the lower staff has also been given honorarium for their hardwork and exclusive services to the university. "This has generated a lot of goodwill and trust between the teaching staff and the administration," the VC added.

The VC further said the Budget and Finance Committee, for the first time, had prepared the development and non-development budget of Rs 656.98 million of KEMU for fiscal year 2008-09 before 30th June and now it would be presented for approval in the next syndicate meeting in first week of July 2008. It will enable faculty to have a clear idea of the budget allocations for their respective departments.

Previously, he said the budget was never approved before September or October and, as a result, the faculty had no idea of expenditures on their respective departments.

Besides, he said the KEMU administration had also been planning to hold first convocation of the university, which had not been held for the last 10 to 12 years, in December this year.

Meanwhile, sharing the conversation, Prof Ahmad Waseem Yousaf, Professor of Gynaecology, informed that KEMU administration had also negotiated with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council for the recognition of its postgraduate degrees in different specialties. Although these postgraduate degrees were previously recognized through Punjab University, the PMDC was expected to award fresh recognition of 32 postgraduate degrees in MS, MD and M.Phil under KEMU with retrospective effect so that degrees of previous batches of postgraduate students were also recognized. Furthermore, he said currently there were studying nearly 332 students in FCPS-II which was unique recognition of this university.

Registrar of KEMU Prof Dr Mahmood Shaukat said the tutorial groups of the undergraduate students had been revived, and their monthly meetings would take place regularly immediately after the summer vacations. This will help in their career building as well as developing teacher-student relationship. Besides, the Weekly Clinical Pathological Conference (CPC) has been made mandatory for final year MBBS students. He said a Students Advisory Council was constituted under the chairpersonship of Prof Dr Attiya Khalid which would revive the activities of Dramatics Club and Debating Club in addition to addressing the hostel and personal problems of the students. He said the problems of postgraduates like stipend, accommodation and curricula of different courses were being actively sorted out. The School of Physiotherapy has started evening training courses of one year duration for all those students who had already done three years' courses. This will enable them to get BSc Physiotherapy degree. Facilities in the hostels are being improved including installation of dual electric supply at a cost of Rs 1.4 million so that students can carry out their studies without interruption.

He informed that a new scheme for teaching and internal evaluation had been prepared which would be implemented with new first year MBBS students on monthly basis. This university has decided that 30 per cent of marks will be allocated for Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) in each theory paper while remaining 70 per cent marks will be for Short Essay Questions and Long Essay Questions (SEQs/LEQs). For this purpose, MCQs Bank is being set up in the Examination Branch whereas oral & practical exam methodology is already under review and will be implemented and updated according to the modern international standards.

Prof Dr Sabrina Sohail, Professor of Dermatology, said the KEMU administration had also revived sports activities which would definitely contribute to both physical and mental growth of the students. In this regard, she said a sports complex, like in Lahore University of Management Sciences, would be established in the university, and added that renovation of swimming pool was underway.

Vice Chancellor Prof Zafarullah Khan believed that the university had achieved stability within a short period of time due to a team effort and now was smoothly progressing in a very conducive atmosphere with full cooperation of the Punjab Governor/Chancellor and Heath Department, Punjab. He believed that the university should be stronger enough to meet the international standards for medical education, training and research. The News

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