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all private medical colleges were doing business rather than serving the education sector.

LAHORE, Nov 03: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) on Tuesday told the Lahore High Court that all private medical colleges were doing business rather than serving the education sector.

The fact was stated by PMDC counsel in response to a two-judge bench query whether private medical colleges allocated admission quota for poor but talented students.

“Private colleges do not allocate such quota as they are totally business organisations,” the counsel, Chaudhry Muhammad Umar, said.

Justice Chaudhry Shahid Saeed put this question while hearing several petitions against entrance test made mandatory by the University of Health Sciences (UHS) for admission to medical colleges and changed criteria for the test.

The judge remarked that the government should make the private medical colleges to allocate quota for poor students as major part of country’s population was poor.

If there was no mechanism to govern private sector then double shifts should be introduced in public sector colleges to accommodate poor students, the judge suggested.

About the entrance test system, the PMDC counsel said uniform criteria was being implemented across the country since 2003 and an LHC single bench had also endorsed this system last year.

However, he said, the UHS initially refused to follow the council’s criteria but agreed to implement the same this year.

Justice Saeed observed that the private medical colleges had completed admission process and collected huge sums from students but what would be the future of these students if court gave decision against entrance test.

The judge again asked the counsel whether there was any mechanism to control private colleges. The counsel said the PMDC would take action if the court gave any directions.

Petitioner’s counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique, at this juncture, pointed out that most of the students who appeared in entrance test were the ‘repeaters’ as a very small number of fresh intermediate candidates participated in the test.

He said the non-allocation of quota for poor students was a clear violation of article 25 and 25-A of the Constitution. He said the entrance test system discouraged poor students.

UHS counsel Rasaal Hasan Sayed argued in the court that private coaching for entrance tests could not be banned. He said actually the examination system for FSc was substandard and needed improvement.

The counsel also requested the court to withdraw stay order against Oct 20 merit list of UHS for admission to medical colleges but the judge turned down the plea.

The judge observed that the case would be decided on the next hearing.

The proceedings were adjourned for Wednesday (today) with instructions to the counsels representing both sides to come up with conclusive arguments.

The bench will also take up some petitions filed in favour of the entrance test system by students who passed the tests.

Petitions against the entrance test condition were filed by Muhammad Zubair, Maqsood Ahmed Qureshi, Dr Shagufta Mubeen, Ms Robina Iqbal, Javaid Iqbal, Muhammad Khurshid and Samra Sagheer.

The petitioners alleged that transparency was not being observed in entrance test and the PMDC also changed the test method altogether. They said under Section 33 of Pakistan Medical & Dental Council Act 1962 the council was duty bound to maintain uniformity of course in all medical colleges.

They said previously, while preparing the merit list, 30 per cent marks were allocated for entry test and 70 per cent for FSC exams. But PMDC changed it and now 50 per cent numbers were being given for entrance test result, 10 per cent for matriculation and 40 per cent for FSc.

They prayed to the court to issue directions to authorities concerned to prepare merit list as per the old criteria and ban the private institutions that were holding preparation classes for entrance tests. The petitioners also sought a ban on negative marking in the tests.

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