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MBBS, BDS entrance test or SAT exemption

Entrance test for MBBS/BDS: Hurdle removed for 63 foreign students
Lahore, May 30: A high-level committee headed by Senator Ishaq Dar has endorsed the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council's decision to exempt 63 foreign students from entrance test or Scholastic Aptitude Test Part-II (SAT-II) examination, holding them eligible for admission to the public-sector medical colleges in the province.

The documents revealed that earlier these (foreign) students, nominated by the Economic Affairs Division for admission to the medical colleges of Punjab under the Pakistan Technical Assistant Programme (PTAP), had been exempted by the PMDC from entrance test or SAT-II examination in September 2010, setting a precedent for such sort of admissions.

The council took a decision on the intervention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which had sought favour for the students of those countries with whom Pakistan enjoys good relations.

The medical organisations and other stakeholders had criticised the council's initiative, observing that the system should not be 'breached' at any cost to maintain education standard in the country as well as abroad.

The PMDC later directed the administrations of the medical colleges to accommodate these students. The Punjab government, however, turned down the decision on the recommendations of a committee headed by Senator Ishaq Dar, which categorically refused to "compromise on basic minimum eligibility criteria" in its recommendations formulated on Feb 14, 2011.

The documents say the committee also directed these students to appear on May 7 for entrance test and SAT-II exam and declared that only those who would pass these exams would be held eligible for admissions.

Of the total 67 nominated students, only four could qualify the examination and the remaining 63 did not appear owing to English-language problem as most of them came from Arab states.

Meanwhile, the embassies of 19 countries continued to exert pressure on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan "to relax its laws" and accommodate their 63 students without entrance test or SAT-II exam.

The Cultural Counselor Embassy of Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in a letter of Feb 23, 2011, sought intervention of the EAD secretary in the matter. "I would like to draw your kind attention towards a very serious issue created by the authorities of medical and dental colleges in Punjab for admission of foreign students that they must pass entrance test or SAT-II examination as pre-requisite," read the letter.

He said the embassy had nominated some Jordanian students for admission to study MBBS under the PTAP for the session 2010-2011 at the UHS under the impression that the PMDC had exempted all the foreign students from passing entrance test/SAT-II examination for MBBS/BDS for this session.

"All our students have been declared eligible for admission by the IBBC, Islamabad, declaring their certificates as equivalent to HSSC (pre-medical) of Pakistan with excellent grades.

"Now at this belated stage when the students have been admitted to the colleges and attending classes regularly for the last two months the recommendations of the committee constituted by the Punjab chief minister, if implemented, will create a lot of difficulties for many departments and individuals," the letter said.

It further argued how a student could be asked to go back to his country by bearing travel expenses. Such an action could spoil a student's academic future, it added.

Later, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs raised the issue in a letter (No DG(SA)-1/1/2011) and requested the Punjab government to reconsider its previous decision.

The chief minister constituted another five-member committee (again headed by Senator Ishaq Dar) to review its decision. Also on the committee were Justice Aamer Raza Khan (retired), Punjab Health Secretary Muhammad Jehanzeb, UHS Member Board of Governors Prof Amer Aziz and UHS Vice-Chancellor Prof Malik Hussain Mubbashar.

The committee met on May 23 and was informed that the ministries of foreign affairs and economic affairs and statistics had sought exemption from entrance test/SAT-II examination for the students of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Jordan, Yemen, Indian occupied Kashmir and other neighbouring countries.

The committee formulated recommendations which said: "The nominated bona fide foreign national candidates, who have not appeared in entrance test/SAT-II examination with requisite score, may be exempted from this requirement for session 2010-2011 only and allowed to continue their studies. However, it is not to be quoted as a precedent in future."

It further recommended that "the nominated candidates of Pakistani origin, having dual nationality, shall have to pass the SAT-II examination with a minimum score of 550 marks in each science subject including biology, chemistry and physics/mathematics before their provisional admission could be regularised.

"EAD and HEC may be asked to ensure, in future, that all foreign candidates fulfill the conditions laid down in the prospectus before nominating them for admissions to public-sector medical and dental colleges of Punjab.

"EAD and HEC should devise their own mechanism to widely disseminate the eligibility conditions for admission of foreign students to MBBS/BDS through Pakistani embassies in other countries and also to advertise these in international media. It would be more appropriate that HEC and EAD get the eligibility of these candidates verified by UHS before finalising their nomination," the committee said.

In view of the fact that every year a number of foreign reserved seats remain vacant in the medical and dental colleges due to unavailability of eligible candidates, the committee also took another important decision and proposed a policy for session 2011-12 and onwards.

According to new policy, "the HEC and EAD shall complete their admission process strictly according to the rules and regulations as laid down in the prospectus of the same session and their nominations should reach the Punjab health secretary on or before Nov 30. After this date, all vacant foreign reserved seats shall be converted into open merit seats and candidates from the waiting list of Punjab shall be admitted, strictly on merit, against these seats." Dawn

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UVAS develops bioinformatics software
Lahore: The Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology (IBBT) of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) has developed bioinformatics software for the analysis of molecular biology data to develop phylogenetic trees to deal with identifying and understanding evolutionary relationships among organisms.

This was stated by UVAS Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz during a briefing about the HEC conference /exhibition on Setting Standard for the 21st Century Pakistan; Universities building economy on Saturday which was attended by all faculty members.

Dr Nawaz said the UVAS had entered into a new era of development of bioinformatics software and first time in Pakistan developed the unique software.

Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology Director Prof Dr Masroor Elahi Baber said the software was developed by using the BioJava and Forester, the latest Java based platforms for software development which understood the problems and analysed the molecular biology data.

New software is vibrant, comparatively easy to learn, operate and understand with many unique features, not offered in already available software of its kind, he added.

Dr Masroor said the main emphasis of the Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology research team was on molecular studies on health and production aspects of human and livestock, using the latest techniques in wet labs. The news

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PU aspiring to get listed amongst top 200 varsities of world
Lahore: The Punjab University (PU) administration wants an increased budget for research to enhance the number of PhD teachers in the varsity and continuity of its present pro-research policies to get listed amongst the top 200 universities of the world.

PU Vice Chancellor (VC) Professor Dr Mujahid Kamran said this while addressing the inauguration ceremony of an examination centre at the Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (ICET) on Saturday.

The VC also announced the result of BSc Chemical Engineering, Session 2006-10, and launched the Campus Management Solution (CMS) software, which was prepared for the first time, and distributed certificates among the students.

Dr Kamran congratulated the graduating students and advised them to work hard with commitment and devotion to be successful in their practical lives. He said they had a bright future, as industries and refineries had plenty of job opportunities for them.

The VC asked them to enhance their learning habits, respect each other and try to learn from their mistakes.

He said there was a dire need to increase the research budget to enhance the number of PhD teachers in the varsity. He said the PU would be ranked amongst the top 200 varsities of the world if the policies of the present administration were followed in the coming years.

Earlier, Institute Director Dr Zahoorul Hassan Rizvi paid rich tributes to the practical efforts of VC Kamran in launching the CMS software. He asked the students to utilise their skills in playing a crucial role in the development of the country.

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FC College students win international honour
Lahore: Two teams of Forman Christian College MBA students have won a reputed international honour by finishing first and second in the Globus Best-In-Strategy Invitational Championship where 139 teams from business schools all over the world were invited to compete on the basis of their performance within their schools. These 139 teams were placed in 15 Industry groups and competed in a 15-year business simulation that mirrors competitive dynamics in the global digital camera industry. Student teams are scored on multiple financial and other dimensions as they make real time decisions on a number of complex business variables such as R and D, workforce compensation, production, outsourcing, product line performance, pricing, and finance in the simulated competitive space. Glo-Bus is used by several hundred universities worldwide and has been developed by a team led by an eminent authority on Strategy, Prof Arthur Strickland, Emeritus Professor of Strategy at the University of Alabama

The top two teams in Glo-Bus from the Forman Christian College School of Management were invited to play the Best-in Strategy invitational that featured 139 winners from other universities. The team of Faisal Pervez, Syeda Ataat Zehra and Hassan Saqlain topped their industry, beating teams that included the formidable National University of Singapore among others. The team of Ali Imran, Sohaib ul Haq and Azhar Moazzam stood second in their industry. Remarkably, while the other competing universities have all used Glo-Bus for several years, the game was used for the very first time at FC College.

As a recognition of the top team's performance, the Strategy faculty at the School of Management at Forman Christian College, Professor Wasif M Khan was honoured by being selected to the Faculty Hall of Fame where he joins a select group of 67 other faculty from among 2400 registered faculty from several hundred universities using Glo-Bus worldwide. Daily times

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Cadet College Razmak reopens after two years
Miramshah: The authorities have reopened Cadet College Razmak, which was closed about two years ago owing to insecurity in North Waziristan Agency.

The prestigious educational institution was closed in June 2009 when security situation worsened in the tribal region and a military offensive was launched. Security forces were stationed in the college building during the operation.

More than 438 students were evacuated in 35 vehicles from North Waziristan after the college was closed but 74 of them along with some staff members were kidnapped near Bakakhel by militants when they were on their way to Bannu.

A 40-member tribal jirga was tasked by political administration to negotiate with militants for the safe recovery of the abducted students and staff members. The kidnapped students were recovered from Makeen.

One of the abducted students recalled the horrific incident, saying he still had concerns about security situation in the region. "I doubted that situation has improved in the past two years," he said on condition of anonymity.

Another student said that there was no security anywhere in the country. "So it is not surprising if people still have concerns about their security in North Waziristan," he said. It would be better to return to the college, which had all the required facilities, he said.

"We are cadets. We can study better in an environment where all curricular and extra-curricular activities are ensured," he said.

More than 400 students, who were shifted to Peshawar, were attending classes in three different rented buildings at different locations.

The classes were not regular and it affected their studies, he said, expressing satisfaction over the reopening of the college.

He said that the college administration had asked them whether they were willing to go to the college and majority of them showed willingness.

The cadet college was set up by former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1978.

Meanwhile, security forces in North Waziristan have also removed checkposts from Khajori to Bakakhle area of Bannu.

The locals, who had to go through checking at those points, lauded removal o the checkposts. These repeated checking resulted in prolonging of the one-hour journey between Miramshah and Bannu to three hours most of the times.

Officials said that the decision to reopen cadet college and remove checkposts was taken after improvement in security situation in North Waziristan tribal region. Dawn

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Three in run for GMC principal slot
Dera Ismail Kha: Three names are under consideration for the post of the principal at the Gomal Medical College (GMC) as the incumbent principal is going to retire today (Monday), official sources said. The sources said that credentials of three senior professors were being weighed for the appointment as principal after the retirement of Prof Abdul Mateen Khan. The sources said the names of Prof Shaukat Ali, Prof Ihsanullah Mahsud and Prof Muhammad Saleem Khan Gandapur were under consideration. The new principal would face certain challenges to put the college's affairs in order. The performance of the Mufti Mahmood Teaching Hospital and to unearth the alleged embezzlement in purchase of equipment worth Rs90 million for the District Headquarters Hospital would be a litmus test for the new principal, the sources added. The news

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