Private medical & dental colleges entrance tests
Entrance tests : Private medical colleges defy chief minister's orders
Lahore, Sep 26: The private medical and dental colleges have announced their respective schedules of entrance tests for all FSc (Pre-Medical) students in violation of the chief minister's orders to hold admissions only on the basis of the test conducted by the University of Health Sciences, Lahore.
Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif had categorically stated that the Punjab government would adopt a uniform policy for admissions to medical/dental colleges in public and private sectors and as such the students would also have to clear the entrance test for enrolment in private medical/dental colleges in Punjab. Thus, only these students passing the test, would be eligible for admission in both public and private medical colleges set up in accordance with the existing rules and regulations. It implies that only those FSc students, who secured over 40 per cent qualifying marks in the test, would be eligible for admissions to private medical/dental colleges in the province.
According to the UHS authorities, a total of 18,263 FSc students appeared in the entrance test out of which 16,487 students were declared successful and 1,558 students with less than 40 per cent marks failed to qualify the test.
Presently, according to the UHS officials, there are 800 to 900 seats of MBBS and BDS in private medical/dental colleges affiliated with the UHS. Most of the private medical colleges in Lahore, recognized by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), have already announced their schedules of holding entry tests as FHM College of Medicine and Dentistry will hold entry test on October 8, CMH Medical College on October 12, while University College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Lahore is expected to hold entry test on tentative October 18 (to be advertised after Eid-ul-Fitr), and Lahore Medical and Dental College is going to hold only interviews to determine the 'eligibility' of the suitable candidates for the admissions. Presently, the private medical colleges are receiving applications from the candidates across the board including those FSc (Pre-Medical) students, who had failed in the entry test for admissions to public medical/dental colleges of Punjab.
The 'game' of entry tests has also helped thrive the business of private academies, which were charging exorbitant fees for entry tests preparation for admissions to private medical/dental colleges.
Sources informed that private medical/dental colleges had all geared up to 'mercilessly fleece' students and their parents in the name of fees for appearing in the entry tests, as they were charging minimum of Rs 2,500 for prospectus/form. "The private institutions will be able to accumulate a handsome amount in the name of entry test fees even before admissions as not less than 4,000 students are expected to sit in the entry test of each institution," they added.
According to students and their parents, the private medical/dental colleges have categorized admissions through open merit, self-finance (which in fact be called super self finance in case of private colleges), foreigners' quota, Pakistani nationals settled abroad quota, etc, in order to make money from students/parents under various heads.
It is may be mentioned here that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had waived off Rs 700 fee for appearing in the entry test conducted by the UHS. Whereas, the Punjab government had also abolished self-finance scheme for admission to the medical colleges for upholding merit as well as the rights of deserving students. ìThe self-finance scheme was, in fact, a violation of merit and the rights of the deserving students," the chief minister observed.
The sources informed that, soon after holding their entrance tests, the private medical colleges would hold interviews of the candidates in which the managements would judge the financial capacity instead of the academic abilities in order to finally award admissions to the "suitable candidates". As far as available break-up of fees is concerned, the sources in the Health Department informed that the public sector medical colleges charged about Rs 15,000 as annual fee (just over Rs 1,000 per month) in addition to negligible admission/registration fee from the selected candidates, whereas the private medical colleges were charging between Rs 50,000 and Rs 100,000 as non-refundable admission fees alone. Besides, the private medical colleges were also charging from Rs 500,000 to Rs 600,000 as one-year non-refundable advance fees from the students, they added.
ìA private medical college in Lahore is charging up to Rs 1.5 million to accommodate even non-eligible candidates in the entrance test," one of the officials said.
The Health Department officials, while pointing out another anomaly, informed that private medical colleges completed their admissions and started classes, even before final list of admissions to public medical/dental colleges was displayed, thus landing the students and their parents in a catch-22 situation. The private medical/dental colleges take a bond from the selected students to complete whole 5-year MBBS course from the college - thus depriving them to get admission to the public sector medical/dental colleges in the province. ìWe are left on the crossroads," the students complained and explained that if they got admissions to the public medical/dental colleges in the second or third or final list, they would lose "non-refundable" admission fees and one-year advance fees deposited in private medical/dental colleges.
Former Punjab governor Khalid Maqbool had taken serious notice of the anomaly and had ordered to refund fees of the students, who had got the admissions to the public medical/dental colleges of Punjab after display of final list in this regard. Parents of the students have been literally crying, as according to them, the private medical colleges are fleecing almost the lifetime savings of any moderate family in the backdrop of delay in displaying of final list for admissions to public sector medical/dental colleges. When contacted, Secretary Health Anwaar A Khan said that the private medical colleges were not barred from holding entry test for admissions. "The entry test, however, must only be conducted for the successful students of the entry test conducted by the UHS," he informed. "The chief minister has categorically stated that strict action would be taken against those institutions, which would violate the rules and regulations set by the government," he added. The News .........