As many as 33, 703 candidates appeared in the medical entry test this year competing for 5, 271 seats in 40 public and private medical and dental colleges across the province. Nearly 3500 seats are available in 15 medical and 3 dental colleges in the public sector, while 1, 850 seats are available in private medical and dental colleges. This implies that the top 3, 000 candidates would be able to secure admission in public sector, leaving thousands of students at the mercy of private colleges.
As merit of government medical colleges is very high, private colleges make full use of their leverage. Students with marks ranging from 78% to 82% are ‘exploited’ and are asked to secure their future by advanced-booking in case they fail to get admission in public sector. The minimum fee for prospectus at a private medical college is Rs. 5, 000, while they charge Rs. 2, 000 for interviewing. If a student secures admission in a public medical college, they deduct the admission fee amounting in thousand rupees and hence earn millions every year only through admission procedures. This is happening only because of some businessmen who have entered into the field of medical education and want to earn more profit using such routes.
Three years back the tuition fee of these ‘controversial’ colleges was around a four hundred thousand per year. Now it has reached to a limit of 7 to 10 hundred thousand. There are also special “donation” seats worth 40 to 50 hundred thousand. Apparently these colleges are only interested in money making and also don’t care much about the merit. If one can make such a huge sum of donation, he or she will be allotted a seat without even following the merit protocol. There are also reserved seats for expatriates, they are charged in foreign currency and the reasons being obvious!
Private medical colleges are earning millions and millions of rupees in the name of admission forms, preadmission tests, exorbitant admission and tuition fees and donations. And you wouldn’t be surprised if I add that there are hardly any quota seats/scholarships for the underprivileged. Such practices are crushing student’s spirit and causing a degeneration and negativity in our society.
Apart from all this, private medical colleges also lag behind the public colleges in education facilities. Some of the newly opened colleges don’t even have qualified enough teaching faculty. This is also evident from the United Health Services (UHS) results, where private colleges lag far behind the government institutions. For instance, the result of FMHMC 1st and 2nd year BDS 2010–2011 was 16% and 35%, lowest amongst all colleges in Punjab. Affiliated hospitals are also too expensive for local public, hence they lack that flooding of patient and hence students even fail to achieve the basic clinical education.
The government/ concerned authorities should take a serious notice of this issue. Private doesn’t mean they are above law. Instead of donating thousands of laptops, government should focus on maintaining the standard of education. But why should they? As long as there are no perks involved, all this seems merely a dream at the moment. But one can always hope for the best.
About the author: Muhammad Aadil is a final year medical student at the FMH Medical College, Lahore, Pakistan. He can be reached at: [email protected]
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