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NED Convocation: DUHS semester system

NED to honour two PhDs on Convocation Day
Karachi, March 04, 2008: The NED University of Engineering and Technology will confer two PhD degrees in Computer System Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, its first in the two disciplines, at its Convocation 2008 on March 6.

Humera Noor and Anjum Khalid are the two recipients, who will have the honour of receiving the degrees on the day of the convocation. Only two others have achieved the honour of receiving a PhD degree in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Javed Aziz Khan, Registrar of NED, said that his university had focused its attention on research and is striving hard to allow more academics to get PhDs. "Currently there are 44 academics of different departments, who have gone abroad for their PhD degrees and hopefully their return will give us opportunity to enhance our quality of education. Besides those who have gone abroad, six are working for their degrees in NED and 13 are enrolled in different universities of Pakistan", he elaborated. Meanwhile, this year's convocation will see the conferring of 800 Bachelor's and 50 Master's degrees to students in different disciplines.

DUHS reduces study hours with introduction of semester system
Karachi: The Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) has drastically reduced the study hours for basic medical sciences subjects with the introduction of the semester system at its affiliated medical institutes.

The semester curriculum recently prepared by the DUHS revealed a six-month to one-year reduction in basic medical subjects. According to sources, Anatomy, a basic medical sciences subject will be taught for 500 hours, the earlier duration of which was 800 hours. Giving the break-up of the new curriculum, sources said that anatomy will be taught 100 hours (hrs) in the first semester of first year and 200hrs each in second and third semester. This means a six-month reduction in the subject.

Similarly, around 200 hours have been reduced from the subject of physiology as now it will be taught for 400hrs, which implied a six-month reduction. Its previous duration was 600hrs. Now physiology will be taught for 100hrs in first semester of first year and 150hrs each in the second and third semesters. Moreover, pathology (general and special) which was a two-year subject is now reduced to one year, while the duration for bio-chemistry has been reduced to one and a half year from two-year. Forensic science, another basic medical subject will now be taught for one semester only, though it was a one-year course previously.

Besides this, the examination year of certain subjects has also been changed. Sources add that previously paediatrics was being taught in the final professional MBBS examination but now it will be taught in the third year, which is likely to create confusion for the students.

Meanwhile, sources add that the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has so far not given the approval for reduction of study hours though it has allowed the semester system. "There is a move to reduce MBBS from five years to four years," the sources said. They further revealed that a majority of the members of the academic council of the DUHS had opposed the semester system during their meeting and some of them also complained about a lack of consultation before its implementation. The sources said that, in fact, the system was "imposed".

"The subjects of basic medical sciences will not be covered due to a drastic reduction of period," said one faculty member on condition of anonymity, adding that it will also adversely affect the competency of students. He pointed out that all over the world, MBBS is being taught annually, and is considerably different from social sciences. "Had the semester system been suitable for MBBS, England, Europe, India and Singapore would have introduced it also," he added.

Dr Sher Shah Syed, PMDC member, said that it would have been more appropriate to introduce the system step by step. At first step, it should have been introduced at the Dow International Medical College where faculty is relatively in large numbers besides resources. If it had produced the desired results there, then it would have been introduced at other colleges. Instead, the decision was bulldozed without analysing its pros and cons, he complained. However, Shah suggested that the full faculty should be introduced at the Sindh Medical College (SMC) and Dow Medical College (DMC), though it may demand giving Rs0.3 million to Rs0.4 million salaries to them because the DUHS has money.

Talking about the reduction in study hours, Shah added that the DUHS, by reducing study hours, is allegedly making MBBS 'easy'. Recalling the past he said, "In our time, there was a full-time faculty. Later, there was part-time faculty with part-time students, part-time doctors and part-time patients." Moreover, Shah demanded proper assessment of the semester system by a committee comprising qualified doctors. The News

Teachers in favour of the system
Karachi: Dr Nelofer Sultana, a senior professor at the DUHS, while appreciating the semester system said that the "semester system should be introduced but with an amendment, that is 'comprehensive annual examination' so the students do not forget other subjects."

However, because of student-teacher ratio at medical colleges, the semester system may not be effective and due to increasing pressure to complete the syllabus, teachers might not be able to give individual attention to students.

A professor of medicine at DUHS, Zaman Shaikh listing the advantages of the semester system, said that it will lead to what he called continuous assessment of students as several students study seriously after eight to 10 months but in the semester system, they will have to give more time to study from the very beginning as mid-term test will also take place. Moreover, it will increase collaboration with international universities where this system exists.

On the other hand, a professor of Dow International Medical College said that the biggest disadvantage of the system is that both faculty and students are not prepared for it. "The semester system is good and two private medical universities in the city have already adopted it. As the PMDC did not give them permission for the system, they conduct both semester and annual examination, putting extra burden on students," he added. Talking about the reduction in study hours, he said, they have not been reduced but have been 'rationed'.

Speaking in favour of the system, a professor of paediatrics at the DUHS, Iqbal Memon said that what is good about the system is that it will provide a fixed schedule, compelling students to study consistently. However, it requires more faculty and adequate classes.

DUHS to set up medical sciences research centre
Karachi: Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) will set up 'Medical Sciences Research Centre' at its Ojha Campus in the city.

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) of Planning Commission in its sixth meeting of current financial year held on March 1, 2008 approved the project worth Rs480 million, DUHS spokesperson said on Monday. According to the Vice Chancellor (VC) DUHS, Professor Masood Hameed Khan, the university will establish a 200-bed teaching research hospital within three years in its Ojha campus and 22 scholarships to eligible students will be provided for PhD from abroad.

The VC in his statement thanked Dr Akram Sheikh, Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, chairman Higher Education Commision (HEC) and Nazar Mohammed Meher, Sindh additional chief secretary development.

Meanwhile, the inaugural ceremony of new academic block at the Dow Medical College campus of DUHS will be held on Tuesday (today). Governor Sindh, Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan will be the chief guest, according to the DUHS spokesperson. The News
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