The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has issued notices to three private medical and dental colleges and directed their managements not to charge their MBBS and BDS students exorbitant fees.
After receiving complaints, the council has also directed the colleges to explain their positions in writing as soon as possible.
In letters written to the Shalimar Medical and Dental College and Continental Medical College in Lahore and the Jinnah Medical and Dental College in Karachi, that are available with Dawn, the council said that the colleges` websites state that their annual tuition fees is Rs800,000, even though the tuition structure is Rs642,000 according to the coun-cil`s admissions regulations.
The colleges have been directed to submit details of the ofñcialbank accounts through which fees were charged last year, and to clearly mention the fees charged from each student per year.
An official statement said that according to PMDC rules and regulations, medical and dental institutions training for MBBS/BDS in the private sector shall not charge more than Rs642,000 per year per student in tuition fees, excluding university examination fees, taxes, hostelfees, transportfees and a onetime admissions fee, which shall not exceed Rs50.
The fee for foreign admissions in private or public colleges can be in foreign currency, and shall not exceed $18,000 per year all inclusive.
All private medical and dental institutions shall maintain a separate online account in a scheduled bank, and all fees and charges to be received from students shall be deposited by students or their parents or guardians in the online account, and no cash shall be demanded from students for any fees or charges, PMDC regulations state. Theaccount number must also be mentioned in the prospectus and website, with the fee structure.
Any other monetary demand or charge or donation on any pretext other than the annual fee as laid down in the PMDC`s regulations, or any other non-compliance of the regulations if reported, will be construed a major violation and the institution will be liable for action, the statement says.
However, Pakistan Private Medical and Dental Colleges Association Secretary General Khagan Waheed Khawaja said the PMDC did not have the authority to determine the fees charged by private medical colleges.
In a statement he said that in light of a verdict from the Lahore High Court, the council members cannot perform anymore, and all their actions are therefore devoid of any legal authority.
Mr Khawaja urged National Health Services Minister Saira Afzal Tarar to play a role in purging the PMDC of corrupt elements, and dismissed the notion that private medical colleges offered admissions to students who did not meet the criteria set by the council.