MBBS students protested against UHS

UHS declared a large number of candidates unsuccessful in pharmacology paper
Bahawalpur, Jan 15: Third-year students of MBBS at the Quaid-i-Azam Medical College (QMC) held a demonstration here on Wednesday against the University of Health Sciences (UHS) for declaring a large number of candidates unsuccessful in pharmacology paper.

They also demanded award of extra marks to the candidates to clear the paper in the second professional examination.

The demonstrators said the pharmacology paper was very tough and multiple choice questions (MCQs) were drawn from syllabi above their academic standard.

They also demanded that the QMC be affiliated with the Islamia University of Bahawalpur and disaffiliated from the UHS.

When the principal and faculty assured them that their demands would be conveyed to the UHS vice-chancellor, the demonstrators called off their protest with a warning that they would take to the street again if their demands were not accepted within a couple of days.

QMC Principal Prof Dr Mazharul Attique said that the UHS results of the second professional were "unsatisfactory" as 103 of 270 QMC students were declared failed.

He said he had a telephonic talk with UHS Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Husain Mubashir and had conveyed him the students' demands.

According to the principal, the UHS vice-chancellor informed him that he had formed a committee consisting of four professors to examine the whole issue and submit their recommendations to solve the matter in accordance with the demands of the protesting students of different medical colleges in the province. Dawn

Taseer calls for end to 'public-private divide': Medical education
Lahore: Governor Salmaan Taseer has underscored the need for level playing-field for both public and private medical institutions in the province, directing the health department to take all stakeholders on board in this respect.

In a letter written to the provincial health secretary by the Governor's Secretariat, Salmaan Taseer, who is also the chancellor of the public-sector universities in the province, directed him to involve the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, the University of Health Sciences and law and education departments to bring about 'uniformity' in the government policy (both at federal and provincial levels) towards the private medical institutions.

The letter says certain issues relating to the private-sector medical colleges functioning in Punjab have been brought to his knowledge.

It was discussed that the private-sector medical colleges might be disaffiliated from the UHS.

The requirement of compulsory affiliation with the UHS had diluted the autonomy granted to the private medical colleges by their statutes.

The chancellor was informed that according to the admission criteria laid down by the PMDC, the candidates seeking admission to medical colleges must have at least 60 per cent marks in the FSc (pre-medical or equivalent examination) whereas the UHS had imposed the criterion of minimum 65 per cent marks.

"As a mandatory requirement, every medical student is required to be registered with the PMDC and a student of a private medical college has to pay Rs10,000 registration fee to the UHS.

The UHS, on the other hand, does not charge any fee from the students of public-sector medical institutions.

"The UHS charges Rs5.5 per cent of the tuition fee from each student of a private medical college as administrative charges. It is not so in the case of public medical college."

The letter further says: "The private medical colleges are subjected to frequent inspections by the UHS, thereby creating a general impression that their objective is to intimidate them (private medical colleges) to keep them in line.

"The UHS charges Rs1 million as subscription to its endowment fund from the private medical colleges, though nothing is charged from the public ones."

Salman Taseer was also briefed on the affiliation of the College of Medicine and Dentistry, Lahore, a private institution, with the UHS. University of Lahore board of governors chairman M.A. Rauf informed the governor that Section 37 of the UHS Ordinance 2002 had indiscriminately been applied in the affiliation (of CMD), thus eroding the autonomy of the University of Lahore.

Citing an example, Mr Rauf maintained that the former King Edward Medical College and Fatima Jinnah Medical College had been exempted from the UHS affiliation.The governor, however, desired that this case should be reconsidered in terms of the relevant provisions of the UHS Ordinance.

A senior doctor is of the view that 'level playing-field' cannot be offered in the case of private and public medical institutions as the students of the latter are 'bright ones meeting top merit criterion'.

"The admission to the private medical colleges is purchased and auctioned by the students of low merit. Those who want to disaffiliate their private medical institutions with any public university are afraid of mechanism for assurance of quality of education," he maintains. Dawn

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