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Sindh to have its own council to regulate medical education

KARACHI: Accusing the federal government of creating mistrust between the Centre and the smaller provinces, the Sindh government has said it will establish its own medical and dental council to regulate medical education as it has serious reservations over the enactment of the law to establish the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) in place of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).

“We are working on the draft of a bill to establish Sindh Medical and Dental Council (SMDC), which will be tabled in the provincial assembly very soon. We wanted our provincial medical and dental council as a chapter of the federal council, but after establishment of the PMC, no other option is left for us except to establish our own council to regulate medical and dental education in Sindh,” said provincial education minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho.

Commenting on the rift between the federal and Sindh governments over admissions to public and private medical colleges in the province, the minister said that after the Sindh High Court’s order for postponing both the provincial and federal tests for admissions, it was hoped that the high court would look at the reservations of the smaller provinces, which wanted most of the seats at their medical and dental colleges filled with their own students.

“The court should also consider that there could be some bad laws too, which are not good for people. The creation of the PMC by abolishing the PMDC was not required; instead, reforms could be introduced to make it a better performing regulatory body. Secondly, the federal government should have taken the matter of the PMC to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to remove the concerns of the smaller provinces, but the bill to establish the PMC was passed when most of the opposition members were not present in the parliament,” she said.

Dr Pechuho remarked that the introduction of a mandatory Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test would prove to be a disaster for the students of the smaller provinces due to the differences in the curricula and systems of examinations, while abolishing the condition of the domicile for admissions to private medical colleges. She said allowing private medical colleges to charge fees of their choice would make medical education unaffordable for students from middle- and lower-class families.

Claiming that education and testing were a provincial subject after the devolution of powers, she said the vice chancellors and the registrars of provincial medical varsities had approached the high court on the issue of admissions to medical and dental colleges in Sindh. She hoped that court would consider the reservations of the people, students and the government.



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