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Unprecedented increase in fees of medical colleges worries parents

The unprecedented increase in fees of private medical and dental colleges has panicked parents and students, as a significant number of candidates will not be able to take admissions due to the exorbitant spike in fees.

Websites of the private medical and dental colleges clearly show that the maximum limit for the fee and the condition to collect the same fee throughout the five-year course had been removed.

However, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) claimed that its academic board was looking into the matter. According to the PMDC documents and data available on the websites of the medical and dental colleges, annual fees have been increased by up to Rs800,000.

As per the document, the annual fee of Akhtar Saeed Medical and Dental College Lahore for MBBS was around Rs1.8 million but for the upcoming year, the college will charge over Rs2.6 million.

HBS Medical and Dental College Islamabad will charge over Rs2.2 million as compared to Rs1.55 million for the current year. Foundation University Medical College has announced fees of Rs1.6 million; last year, it charged Rs1.58 million from Pakistani students.

CMH Lahore Medical and Dental College and Institute of Dentistry Lahore (MBBS) have announced to charge Rs2.2 million as compared to Rs1.75 million for the current year.

Shalamar Medical and Dental College will charge Rs2.1 million compared to Rs1.65 million for the current year. Islamabad Medical and Dental College has been charging Rs1.6 million for the current year’s MBBS programme but it will charge Rs2.1 million for the next year. Shifa College of Medicine Islamabad has increased its fees from Rs1.4 million to Rs1.7 million for MBBS.

The Aga Khan University Karachi is charging Rs2.6 million for the current year but has announced annual fees of over Rs3 million for the upcoming year for its MBBS programme.

Fazaia Medical College, Islamabad has increased fees from about Rs1.4 million to Rs1.6 million while Rehman Medical College Peshawar has increased fees from Rs1.5 million to Rs1.7 million.

Shahid Nazir, father of a candidate, while talking to Dawn, said that he was shocked to hear the new fee structures announced by medical colleges.

“The health ministry should look into it as it has become unaffordable for the parents… It seems that colleges have been taking advantage of the caretaker government which seems to be incompetent,” he said.

The fee structures of most medical and dental colleges further show that tuition fees will increase every year.

‘No bar in PMDC Act’

A senior official of PMDC, wishing not to be named, said that there was no bar in the PMDC Act to cap the fees of medical colleges.

“However in June this year, a meeting of the council was called in which there was an agenda item to regulate the fees and the matter was referred to the academic council of the PMDC,” he said, adding the academic council had the representation of the provinces and private medical colleges.

He added that the academic council prepared a document suggesting that the maximum fees for the MBBS should be around Rs1.9 million and dental colleges could charge Rs1.7 million at max. The academic council has not submitted a revised fee structure yet,“ he said.

“However, the PMDC management did not agree to it and instructed the academic council to decrease the maximum fee. According to the PMDC admission regulations, tuition fee will remain the same throughout the degree, which means that students will have to pay the same fee from the first year to the fifth year,” he said.

In 2019, Justice Saqib Nisar had capped the fee at Rs950,000 per year but later the defunct Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) introduced different categories such as A, B, and C, increasing the fee up to Rs2.2 million per year, an official said.

“The newly appointed Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Medical Education and Patient Care Prof. Dr. Aamir Bilal, who also enjoys the status of a state minister, was also part of the PMC and it seems that now categories would also be introduced,” he said.

When contacted, Health Minister Dr Najeem Jan’s PRO Sajid Shah informed Dawn that the minister was busy in a meeting. Dawn also contacted Dr Aamir Bilal but he said that he was busy in the ICU and was not able to comment on the matter. However, a PMDC spokesperson said that the matter was pending with the academic council and hoped that it would be addressed soon.

Title : Unprecedented increase in fees of medical colleges worries parents
Author : Daily Dawn
Type : News
Role Performer : Corporate Author
Subject : Fee structure in private medical and dental college
Publisher : Daily Dawn
Publication Place : Islamabad
Date : 2023-12-07
Language : English