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PMDC allows medical colleges to increase fees

PMDC allows medical colleges to increase fees

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) on Monday agreed in principle to increase the fee for private medical colleges subject to certain conditions.

Colleges have been informed that fees can only be increased to no more than Rs800,000 if they ensure admissions are on merit, improve infrastructure, provide free medical education to 5pc students and submit an affidavit that they will follow the agreement.

On the other hand, administrations of private medical colleges say that considering the annual inflation index, the per student fee should be increased from Rs642,000 to Rs1.3 million. The council maintained that fee cannot be increased to more than Rs800,000 and decided to hire an audit firm to calculate the expenses colleges actually incur.

After chairing a meeting of the council, PMDC President Dr Shabir Lehri told Dawn that the Supreme Court had in 2010 taken suo moto notice of the issue of medical colleges’ fee after which it was decided that the per-student fee will be Rs550,000 which will be increased by 7pc every year.

“The fee was increased to Rs642,000 in 2013 and the council has been trying so that the fee is not increased as private medical colleges have not made good on some of the promises they made. The council had also received complaints that colleges demand bribes in the name of donations at the time of admissions,” he said.

Dr Lehri said colleges have been told that if they want to increase fee, they will have to take a number of steps to ensure transparency, merit, quality of education and facilities for students and that colleges also have to fulfil their corporate social responsibility.

He explained that the 2012 regulations called for each college to provide free education to 5pc of students and that the majority of colleges were violating the rule.

“We are majorly focusing on merit and only competent students should be admitted into medical colleges. So we have suggested all colleges display a list of their applicants on its website as well as a list of shortlisted students after admissions. Colleges can demand post-dated cheques from students when they are applying for admissions,” he said.

Because colleges wanted to increase the fee to Rs1.3 million, an audit firm will be hired to ascertain the expenses public and private sector medical colleges incur, Dr Lehri said, adding that colleges will be required to submit an affidavit saying they will not violate the terms and conditions and that they will be implemented for admissions in the upcoming year. He said only those colleges which submit affidavits will be considered for fee increase.

During the meeting, private medical and dental institutions had requested for a revision of their fee structure and to be allowed to increase the fee to Rs1.3 million and after a detailed discussion, the council had decided against such a sharp hike as the PMDC has to safeguard public and student interests, an official statement said.

The council proposed that its subcommittee should negotiate with private medical and dental colleges to discuss this and other matters. It was decided that demands made by these colleges will be considered subject to central induction and they will not charge extra money in the name of donations, they will ensure the provision of social corporate delivery for patients, there will be no aptitude tests and colleges will strictly follow merit.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2017

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