Students’ protest against Cuba continues
By Mahtab Bashir
ISLAMABAD: A goodwill gesture by the Cuban government offering scholarships to around 1,000 Pakistani medical students has become a nightmare for a few.
Despite clarifications of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), the fact remains there that whether Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) will accept Cuban medical degrees. Talking to Daily Times, the six students deported from Cuba shortly alleged that the Cuban colleges were ill-equipped and quality of education lower than Pakistan.
They said they would not be able to get past the PMDC test if and when they completed their studies and obtained degrees. They claimed that teaching hospitals were not attached with their colleges in Cuba.
These six were among the 15 students were arrested for violating laws in Cuba. They and their parents have staged a protest in front of Higher Education Commission (HEC) building in Sector H-9 in favour of their demands.
The HEC has issued a press release stating that a comprehensive certificate, addressing all issues, was signed by the Cuban deputy minister for health and endorsed by the PMDC representative, who went to Cuba for resolution of this matter.
A total of 932 Pakistani students are currently undertaking medical studies in Cuba on full scholarship. The first batch of these students has completed two years of study along with a comprehensive course in Spanish language and is ready to initiate third-year classes, while the second batch has entered second year of study. The case for resolution of the problems faced by these Pakistani students in Cuba was taken up by the Senate Standing Committee on Health and National Assembly Standing Committees on Health and Education. Both these committees worked deliberated on the issue.
A delegation headed by Senator Nilofer Bakhtiar and including representatives of PMDC and HEC went to Cuba in February to work out a solution. They inspected classrooms, teaching facilities, laboratories and living area of students during their stay in Cuba.
Tahir Abbas Zaidi, HEC project director, said it was clarified that Pakistani students in Cuba were studying in WHO-recognised institutions and, upon successful completion of their degrees, would be recognised as doctors by Pakistan. The ELAM will issue degrees, not certificates, to these students, which were recognised by the HEC.