Saturday December 04, 2021

Provinces free to prepare policies for medical admissions: PMC president

October 23, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) President, Dr Arshad Taqi, on Friday said the provinces were free to prepare their own policies for admissions in the medical colleges, especially in the private medical colleges, but at the same time, made it clear that the provinces could not be allowed to lower the merit to accommodate undeserving candidates due to their parents’ wealth.

“Around 7,500 to 8,000 candidates in Sindh have obtained the passing marks in the Medical and Dental Colleges Test (MDCAT) against 3,000 seats in the medical and dental colleges. All the seats in Sindh’s medical and dental colleges can be filled with the candidates holding provincial domicile but we cannot allow lowering the merit to accommodate undeserving candidates,” Dr Arshad Taqi said, while talking exclusively to The News at his office.

Reiterating that the undeserving candidates, children of wealthy parents, could not be allowed to take admissions in the private medical colleges, he said every year, hundreds of deserving candidates fail to get medical education, because their parents could not afford to get them enrolled in the private medical colleges, adding: “It is the collective responsibility of the society, state, pharmaceutical industry and others to fund the education of meritorious students, who fail to get admissions in the private educational institutions due to lack of finances. On the other hand, those who fail to get the passing marks in the admission test, should not be allowed to become medical professionals on the basis of their own or their parents’ wealth.”

Commenting on the statement of Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho regarding lowering the merit to accommodate candidates having Sindh’s domicile, he said the PMC could not compromise on the transparency of the admission process and merit, adding that the creation of provincial medical commission or starting the provincial MDCAT was a Constitutional matter.

The PMC president disclosed that from this year, a certain number of deserving candidates would be getting medical education through the financial assistance from the PMC (Endowment) Fund, which was created with Rs250 million, adding efforts were underway to increase the amount of the fund to facilitate many more candidates. “This year, a certain number of candidates, who passed the MDCAT but cannot afford medical education in private medical colleges, would get financial assistance through the PMC Fund." He asked the federal and provincial governments, private sector, especially the pharmaceutical industry, to pool in to help the meritorious candidates. To a query, Dr Taqi said interest-free loans could also be provided to students to get the higher education adding that in this regard, the decision would have to be taken by the governments and the banking sector.

He maintained that only around 1,300 of the 125,000 candidates, who failed to get the passing marks in the MDCAT, applied for review of their answer scripts. As many as 194,133 candidates appeared in the MDCAT throughout Pakistan, of which around 125,000 failed to qualify, while 69,133 acquired the passing marks against around 20,000 seats in the public and private medical and dental colleges throughout the country.

Defending the licensing exams for the passed-out medical graduates, Dr Arshad Taqi claimed that most of the students were not against the licensing exams, claiming they only wanted it to be applied for the fresh students, adding they could not allow young graduates to practice without appearing in the licensing exams, which is a norm in the developed world.

He also defended the right of private medical colleges to fix the tuition fees on their own, saying the private medical colleges were doing business and it was their right to get the money against the services they were providing as they have to incur heavy charges on hiring the faculty and other facilities.