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September 24, 2019

Admissions to private medical, dental colleges : Parents, students relieved as domicile restriction restored


September 24, 2019

PESHAWAR: Hundreds of parents and students in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa heaved a sigh of relief as the federal Health Ministry withdrew its earlier decision of removing the domicile restriction for getting admissions to private medical and dental colleges in the country.

Sources told The News that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and Vice-Chancellor of Khyber Medical University Prof Dr Arshad Javaid played a key role in convincing the federal government to take back the controversial decision.

“The decision was not based on justice but our political leadership, particularly Governor Shah Farman fought a real battle for the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and had won their hearts and minds as we had almost lost these 1400 seats in our private medical and dental colleges to the students of Punjab who obtained highest marks in their recent entrance test,” said a senior medical consultant in Peshawar.

The decision was made during a high-level meeting held in Islamabad on Monday. The federal health secretary, all vice-chancellors of the six universities and Ali Raza, a representative of Federal Taskforce, attended the meeting. The government would soon issue an official notification in this regard, according to official sources.

It was feared that majority of students would suffer in KP when the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) removed the domicile restriction for getting admission to the private medical and dental colleges.

The chief minister had earlier called a meeting when parents and students in KP lodged protest over the controversial decision of PMDC and decided to raise it with the federal government.

However, senior government official privy to this particular issue told The News that Governor Shah Farman personally raised the issue with Prime Minister Imran Khan and other senior relevant authorities in the federal Health Ministry about sensitivities of the decision and its far-reaching effects.

“We were concerned as we believed the students of Punjab would snatch all our 1400 seats in the private medical colleges. Governor Shah Farman raised the issue with relevant people and saved future of brilliant students in KP,” said the official on condition of anonymity.

He said Shah Farman informed the prime minister and the federal government that 95 per cent of the students in Punjab had obtained higher marks compared to 15 per cent in KP, apparently due to difference in their syllabus, examination system, marking and most importantly, a huge difference in entrance tests being held for admissions to medical colleges and marking.

Therefore, the official said, Shah Farman had told them it would be a sheer injustice with the students of KP if their rights are given to others.

According to sources, Shah Farman had stated that it would create hatred among the people of KP particularly the students for the people of Punjab if the students of Punjab were adjusted against 1400 seats in private medical colleges.“It would have damaged the quality of education in the country as provinces would indulge in this race of getting highest marks so they can occupy more seats in private medical colleges of other provinces. It is better to allow building more private medical and dental colleges in Punjab to accommodate more students in future,” the official quoted Shah Farman as advising the federal government.

The governor had stated that students of other provinces would utilise all resources of the KP but would not serve for a single day there after completion of their studies.

Around 43,827 students, including 26,427 male and 17,400 female, had appeared in the entrance test, which the Khyber Medical University (KMU), Higher Education Department (HED) and the Educational Testing and Evaluation Agency (ETEA) conducted.

According to the parents and students appeared in the test claimed that the paper designed for the students in KP was 5 per cent tough than that in Punjab and other provinces.

Only 15 students, (0.03 per cent) secure 90 per cent and above marks in the entrance test in KP. And 753 students, (1.72 per cent) got 80 per cent to 89.99 per cent marks, 2856 applicants (6.52 per cent) obtained 70 per cent to 79.99 per cent while 4226 (9.64 per cent) secured 60 per cent to 69.00 per cent marks for admission to 2,700 seats in 30 medical and dental colleges in KP.

Out of 30 medical and dental colleges, there are 13 medical institutions in the public sector in KP, in which nine are medical and four are dental colleges. In the private sector, out of 17 private medical institutions, there are 13 medical and six dental colleges in the province. Removal of the restriction of domicile for getting admission to the private medical and dental colleges had shocked the parents and students in KP.