Medical students protest compulsory UHS registration
LAHORE: Students protested on Thursday against the orders for all medical colleges in the Punjab, except for two, to register with the University of Health Sciences.
The representatives of public sector medical colleges belonging to Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) told a press conference it was unjust to allow the Fatima Jinnah and King Edward medical colleges to retain their affiliation with the Punjab University while the other medical colleges are forced to register with the UHS, and to violate the recommendations of the Justice (r) Ghulam Mujaddid Mira Report, which calls for the UHS to focus on research and basic sciences.
“The Mujaddid Commission has recommended that the registration of medical colleges be by choice, not compulsory,” one representative said, adding, “We have visited the UHS and seen that it has only some personalities on campus. There is no infrastructure or a suitable academic atmosphere.”
They added that the UHS was established at a small site by forcefully shifting a nursing institute funded by the Asian Development Bank.
The student representatives said they were in favour of good quality new universities, but not in this way. “We don’t oppose the UHS, but say that it should focus on MPhil, PhD programmes. There should be no compulsion to join it, as this will centralized the UHS and it will dominate in the Punjab.”
They also demanded the Punjab government publish and implement the Mujaddid Commission report.
About the involvement of students, they said a proportion of students were not aware of the issue as the new managements of the boards of governors were supporting the UHS, sometimes unfairly. “It’s pressure from the students and teachers that has stopped them.” They said the principal executive officers were forcing academic councils to register with the UHS, otherwise no one wanted to join an unproven institution.
The student representatives said the increasing fees of medical colleges was another issue. “The UHS has demanded Rs 2 million as an affiliation fee from each college, which will ultimately make medical education more expensive. Already the increase in fees has forced students to live outside hostels in rented rooms.”
They said they were starting a broad based campaign to highlight the problems with the UHS by publishing pamphlets and arranging seminars at college and city level. They said protests had already begun in Nishtar Medical College and Bahawalpur Medical College.
The students present at the press conference were IJT Punjab head Nasrullah Goria, Muhammad Arshad (final-year) of King Edward Medical College (KEMC), Amir Osman (fourth-year) of Allama Iqbal Medical College, Attiqur Rehman (fourth-year) of Rawalpindi Medical College, Tariq Rana (fourth-year) of Nishtar Medical College, Multan, Nadir Ali (fourth-year) of Quaid-e-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur, and Khalid Hojora (fourth-year) of Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad.