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Students express mixed feelings over semester system

Karachi, March 05, 2008: Medical students have expressed mixed feelings over the introduction of the semester system. One final-year student from SMC, who remains at the ward as junior house officer from 8.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. wonders how he will find the time to appear in the semester system. He claimed that there is almost no faculty for final-year students. "Only the ENT (ear, nose and throat) subject is being taught at the SMC twice a week, while surgery, medicine, eye and gynaecology, etc, are not due to the lack of faculty," he complained.

Mehreen Kidwai, a student of final year, said it is confusing and she doesn't want to understand it as she is about to complete her education. However, she believes that "given the particular attitude of students who study at the eleventh hour, I think this system will be good if it brings attitude changes among them towards study," she said.

Another student of DMC said that this system should have been introduced in the first year as students are not used to it and they will face difficulties. "The DUHS is adopting semester system of a private medical university but there is big difference between them in terms of faculty and other facilities," he added. Furthermore, he pointed out that a professor of pharmacology at the DMC recently resigned and joined a private university. Since then, the attendance of third-year students in pharmacology has gone down to 70 per cent because of the lack of qualified faculty.

Talking about other problems faced by students, he said students are not allowed to sit in the library after 3.00 p.m., though in the past, the library remained opened till 8:00 p.m. "After 3:00 p.m. private security guards visit the college and ask students to leave it," he claimed.

Moreover, he added that it appears as if this is a move to complete the syllabus hurriedly. "Since last year, the final year MBBS has almost ended in DMC in practical terms as the students are asked to perform at wards as 'junior house officers' without any salary."

However, other students said that the system will be good for students in terms of reduction of "course burden".

DUHS VC justifies the system
Karachi: Giving the background behind introducing the semester system, the Vice Chancellor, DUHS, Professor Masood Hameed Khan, said that it is being adopted worldwide. "Medical subjects are extensive, hence this system will benefit students," he explained. Elaborating on the system, Khan said that earlier the subject of medicine was taught during the third, fourth and final year respectively. However, its examination was taken in the final year, which meant that a student had to remember courses worth three years, this put immense pressure on him/her. Besides, as examination is held in final year, the students do not give importance to medicine in the third and fourth years, he added.

Moreover, the semester system will also discourage the trend of 'rote learning' as students mostly study two months prior to examination. Also it will regularise the attendance of students.

"We have a full-time faculty that teaches from 8.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m." he said. Responding to the criticism meted out by the PMA, he said that no public sector university in the country has adopted an 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. time for faculty members. As far as the reduction of study hours is concerned, they have not been reduced. The paediatric subject will be taught in final year but its internal evaluation will start from third year, he explained.

Moreover, final-year MBBS is not being ended - instead, DUHS has increased hours for final-year students to work at medical wards of the hospitals, Khan said. "Previously, the students stayed at wards for two from 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. but from now on, they will have to stay from 8.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m." he added. This will give them enhanced exposure as a one-hour class for small group of students also takes place at wards. Furthermore, he disclosed that the DUHS is also considering inducting final-year students for night time duty at wards for further exposure. The News

DUHS academic block inaugurated
Karachi: The Sindh governor, Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, on Tuesday inaugurated the new academic block of the Dow Medical College campus of the Dow University of Health Sciences.

He said that the provision of health care facilities was the right of the people and one of the prime responsibilities of the government.

"The role of the medical institutions in assisting the government to achieve this noble goal is therefore pivotal", Dr Ibad said.

He expressed his satisfaction that DUHS had been authorised by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council to initiate a semester system at its undergraduate medical colleges.

The vice-chancellor of the DUHS, Dr Masood Hameed Khan, said that the university since its establishment needed expansion in its infrastructure for which a new academic block was planned.

"Despite all the odds, the DUHS has completed this most modern new academic block in 20 months," he said.

The covered area of the block (ground plus four) is said to be 42,548 square feet. APP
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