King Edward Medical University & old Kemcolians

KEMU slide worries old students, others
Lahore, Oct 28: While King Edward Medical University has become an object of experimentation in the recent years since its upgrade, medical professionals in general and old Kemcolians in particular are worried about the future status of their alma mater and want to revive glory of the oldest and premier medical institution of the country.

While King Edward Medical University is struggling for survival, Prof Dr Muhammad Amjad, General Secretary of Punjab Medical Teachers Association and an old Kemcolian, analyzed the core problems in detail and gave a way forward and consensus demand of Kemcolians and medical professionals, as he claimed it, to revive the original fortunes of the premier medical institution of the sub-continent.

The King Edward Medical College (KEMC), which was born before Government College Lahore and Punjab University Lahore in 1860, had a glorious history of about one and a half century and thousands of its graduates are world authorities in different medical fields. In February 2006, KEMC was elevated to status of University (KEMU) but experience of first four years of its life is a big disappointment. Although KEMU could not start its new journey due to multiple reasons, the recent idea of present provincial government to withdraw its university status generated a widespread wave of anger and shock amongst medical professionals all over the world. It is great concern that all new universities created even for horses and donkeys are prospering but the most glorious institution of subcontinent, the King Edward Medical College, has become a guinea pig. Historically, KEMC was affiliated with Punjab University Lahore and was used to conduct MBBS admissions in all the medial colleges of Punjab. The KEMC Principal was the Chairman of Board of Studies of Punjab University. So practically King Edward Medical College was a university for medical education. Some 35-years back a demand started emerging that KEMC should be made a real university to overcome difficulties faced with Punjab University. In 1985, on the centenary silver jubilee ceremony of KEMC, President General Zia-ul-Haq was ready to give university status to the institution but General Jilani, then Governor Punjab, opposed the idea by saying that University Grants Commission cannot look after this great institution, while provincial government is always on the disposal of KEMC.

At that time, KEMC Principal Prof Khawaja Sadiq Hussain and his faculty also agreed with the Governor. In 1999, when General Musharraf threw out the popular democratic government and Prof Mahmood Ahmad Chaudhry became Punjab's Health Minister, who thoroughly ruined the medical institutions with KEMC being his prime target. He snatched the old idea of University from King Edward Medical College and made University of Health Sciences (UHS) by capturing land of Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Lahore. He managed to get this ruling that all the government and private medical institutions will be affiliated with the UHS. But well connected Principal of KEMC (Prof Mumtaz Ahmad) managed to get exemption and retained its affiliation with Punjab University.

There is no doubt that Prof Mumtaz Hassan, the best graduate of KEMC in year 1969 and a very good doctor, is the founder of King Edward Medical University, but, unfortunately, during his long tenure as Principal KEMC and later acting Vice Chancellor of KEMU, the institution declined steadily. Although, there were many other reasons for this decline but Prof Mumtaz Hasan had committed a basic mistake of slamming institution's college status, which also paralyzed its university status right after its birth. The KEMU's attached teaching hospitals of Mayo Hospital, Lady Wellington Hospital and Lady Atchison Hospital were under the provincial government and university was under Higher Education Commission (HEC). So unity of the command was lost.

Afterwards, Prof Zafarullah Khan, who succeeded Prof Mumtaz Hasan as the new acting VC, suddenly changed his views after initially being strong critic of KEMC's up-gradation to a university level. Growth of the university could not start and the only development was that one person became VC and few others got new designations, new offices, new cars and other benefits but teaching faculty was highly frustrated. Their promotions and transfers were stopped. The university cadre did not start and all the faculty members including the VC remained employees of the provincial government. Undergraduate education declined, examination department was poor and postgraduate education programme weak. There is no doubt that situation at KEMU and Mayo Hospital is grim, but still withdrawal of university status is not the solution. Recently 2nd caretaker VC retried and newly appointed Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof. Asad Aslam Khan has taken over the charge as 3rd caretaker VC.

Unfortunately HEC also declined rapidly after Musharraf era and a very bad conflict is going on between HEC and public sector universities for lack of funds. However, due to inefficiency of KEMU authorities, the university did not get a penny when HEC was filthy rich and now HEC has come to the level of old University Grants Commission. As for solution to these problems, there are two ways to resolve the issue. Firstly, the best way is to rename UHS as King Edward University of Health Sciences (KEUHS), appoint a regular VC for full tenure, revert KEMC's original status and affiliate all the public sector and private sector medical colleges including KEMC with KEUHS. This will end the continuous cold war between UHS and KEMU. Doctors in general and Kemcolians in particular will get satisfied because it will restore the premier role of their alma mater and an undisputed university will be established in the province. This single university can also ensure uniformity of medical education in all the affiliated medical colleges in the province.

Secondly, if due to any reason it can not be implemented then the other solution is to "retain the King Edward Medical University and restore King Edward Medical College under it". Liaison of KEMC should be restored with Punjab government and a regular Principal should be posted. The entire faculty should get right of promotions and transfers as in the past. KEMC and its attached three hospitals should have a Board of Management. The KEMU must be given right to affiliate medical colleges, which will start healthy competition between KEMU and UHS. The educational part of the institution should be seen by university and patient care part by Board of Management. The Chairman of Board of Management, Principal of KEMC and Medical Superintendent of Mayo Hospital should be members of the Syndicate of KEMU.

The Riaz-i-Qadeer Research Centre should be temporarily given to KEMU where VC should run necessary offices but future KEMU should be established at a new venue with its full requirements because present physical structure of KEMU is hardly sufficient for the needs of MBBS education therefore no new constructions should be planned within its boundary. The plan of 9-storey tower in Patiala Block of the university (a national heritage) should be abandoned at once. The KEMU should recruit staff in university cadre with full benefits and concentrate on curriculum development and research. It should build its new colleges like Dental College and Pharmacy College at new places because present building has absolutely no capacity for expansion into new colleges. Present hostels are also meant for MBBS students of KEMC and university should construct its hostels at a new place.

The year 2010 is the centenary golden jubilee year of KEMC and this historic institution of sub-continent is desperately looking towards Punjab government for its future. The government has to take balanced steps after consultation with Kemcolians at an earliest to end the dilemma and restore the glory of the premier medical institution of the country. The news

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PU ex-controller of exam told to vacate house
Lahore:: The Punjab University administration has issued a notice to its former controller of examinations, Prof Dr Taqi Zahid Butt, to vacate B-type house and pay outstanding rent of around Rs900,000.

Similarly, the administration is also working to send a notice to former registrar Prof Dr Naeem Khan to vacate the B-type residence.

Both the officials were given B-type residences, which are entitled to professors, for being controller of examinations (CE) and registrar, respectively. Both Prof Butt and Prof Khan are much junior as professors, while many senior professors are in the queue to get allocation of B-type houses.

PU Resident Officer-I Javed Sami confirmed that a notice had been sent to former CE Prof Butt, who was occupying the B-7 residence despite the fact that he was replaced by Dr Zahid Karim Khan. He said Prof Butt was quite junior and had no justification to keep the B-type residence and should have vacated it soon after relieving the charge of CE office.

He said the PU audit department had recently raised an objection and asked the university to issue notice for the payment of outstanding rent of the house, which had been calculated nearly Rs900,000.

He said former registrar Prof Khan should have vacated the B-8 residence within one month of his relieving the charge. Prof Khan, who was relieved on Sept 22, was also quite a junior professor as he had only five-year service in the university. He said Prof Khan would be required to pay Rs50,000 as rent for each month onwards. Dawn

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PU Pro VC Book launch
Lahore: The launching ceremony of Pro Vice-Chancellor of Punjab University Prof Dr Jamil Anwar Ch's book titled "Atom Bomb: From Imagination to Reality" will be held on Thursday (today) at 11am in the Al-Raazi Hall of Centre for Undergraduate Studies, New Campus. According to a press release here on Wednesday, former Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Beaconhouse National University Sartaj Aziz will be the chief guest while Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran will preside over the ceremony. Renowned columnist Atta-ul-Haq Qasmi, Amjad Islam Amjad, former Vice-Chancellors Dr Rafique Ahmad, Khairat Ibn-e-Rasa, former Provincial Education Minister Mian Imran Masood, Chairman Punjab Education Foundation Raja Muhammad Anwar, eminent research scholars and faculty members will attend the ceremony. The news

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Remains of Deinotherium found by PU team
Lahore: A unique discovery of the remains of Deinotherium in the form of fossils in pristine condition was made during the excavation tour of PU students at village Lava in Chakwal.

The PU team visited the area under the supervision of Department of Zoology Chairman Prof Dr Muhammad Akhtar.

The remains have lower denture with undisturbed set of teeth attached to the gums.

This terrible beast is known to have survived between epochs of Miocene to Pleistocene. Its ancestors or descendants are not yet known with complete confirmation due to non-availability of fossil record. Daily times

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Speech at PU
Lahore: Lord Nazir Ahmad, the first Muslim member of the British House of Lords, will address the Punjab University faculty members and students at Faisal Auditorium, New Campus. -Correspondent
Senior journalist Hussain Naqiís relative Fateh Ali Khan Qazalbashís Soyam will be held on Thursday (today) at 4pm at Mubarik Haveli, Akbari Gate.

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PU meeting
Lahore: A meeting of the Punjab University Advanced Studies and Research Board (AS&RB) was held under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran in his office. According to a press release on Wednesday, the meeting solved cases of PhD scholars sent for review in the board by PU departments, institutes, colleges and schools. The news

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LUMS students complete medical training from RICE University
Lahore: The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) has sent four of its students to the Rice University in Houston, Texas to get training for developing an emergency medical technician curriculum to train volunteers and learn skills to continue providing services as the first responders to campus medical emergencies.

These students are members of the LUMS Emergency Medical Service (EMS) that was sent by the varsity to spread awareness about the importance of emergency relief training. LUMS EME President Babar Asad said that the students completed a two weeks training course at the Rice University, which included observing their emergency club's network. After coming back these students will now share their knowledge and expertise with the students of other universities.

During their stay at the Rice University, the four students of LUMS interacted with the varsities President Leebron Rice and his wife. The students, Nada Afaq, Zubair Anis, Jamal Abdul Nasir and Madiha, who returned last week after a two-weeks stay in the US, had been enrolled in different departments and are members of a club called EME, considered to be a pioneer of the idea to start an emergency club in the country's universities, certified in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

According to the LUMS administration, the EMS hopes to develop an emergency medical technician curriculum to train volunteers and learn skills to continue providing service as first responders to campus medical emergencies.

The trend of university students' involvement in emergency services as volunteers is a rare phenomenon in Pakistan, but is quite common in the US and other European countries. Daily times

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LCWU seminar on finance
Lahore: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has a close liaison with the educational institutions for the induction of development finance as part of their curriculum. This was said by Chief Manager Banking Services Corporation State Bank of Pakistan Muhammad Munir Ahmed in his keynote address at a seminar "Developmental Finance -Issues and Challenges" organised by the Department of Economics of Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) and State Bank of Pakistan, according to a press release here on Wednesday.

LCWU Vice-Chancellor Dr Bushra Mateen was also present.

Muhammad Munir Ahmed highlighted the initiatives taken by the SBP for the developmental finance which included formation of Development Finance Group in SBP as well as developed finance units in its offices. He also said that four focal groups on agriculture, micro-finance, SME and Islamic banking were made and they held quarterly meetings with the stakeholders. He said awareness programmes, festivals, workshops and surveys were being conducted by the SBP. He said that there were internship programmes for creating awareness among the university students.

Social Sciences Dean Professor Riffat Saqlain spoke on the issues and challenges of Development Finance and said, "Our focus should be on poverty alleviation, job creation, sustainable development, better income distribution, better economic culture and strong political leadership." She said that effective banking system required major restructuring and capacity building which included emphasis on development of human resources.

The use of information technology can improve the business process. She said that monetary stability needed controlling inflation, regulating national supply of money, elimination of interest rate distortions and reducing the current account deficit through control over exchange rates and promotion of exports. The news

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