• PMDC’s decision to fix 50 pc seats in medical and dental colleges for females to flout merit as usually 70 pc of all seats are secured by females
• AIMC principal welcomes decision, says girls do not work in far-flung areas after securing education
• Students suggest govt takes surety from all medical college students to work after education, instead of adopting quota system
The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has introduced a quota system in medical colleges restricting the seats for female students to 50 per cent, Pakistan Today has learnt, a decision which will ensure gender ‘equality’ but will discriminate against female students as more than 60 per cent of those securing admissions in medical colleges since 2008 are females.
Considering the “growing trend of females” in medical education but “decreasing sustainability” of females in the field, the council decided in a meeting in February that the “number of seats for males and females in medical education should be 50 per cent each”.
Interestingly, the decision taken in February was notified on September 18, stating that the new quota system would be applied on undergraduate admissions in all public and private medical and dental institutions for the Academic Year 2014-2015.
The notification comes at a time when the admission process in the medical colleges is ongoing across the country. Punjab held a medical college entry test (MCAT) in August and prospective students have now submitted their applications whereas the first merit list will be displayed on October 30. As per PMDC’s regulations, admissions in medical and dental colleges should be wrapped up by November 15.
DOWN WITH GENDER DISCRIMINATION:
The PMDC’s decision is being seen by many students, their parents and academicians as discriminatory against women.
“Such a discriminatory policy is not in force anywhere in the world. Why should females not be allowed to study when they are intelligent and are able to get admitted to medical colleges on merit?” said a senior official while talking to Pakistan Today.
Warning that the move will have social, political, emotional and professional repercussions, he said, “The female students and their parents are very emotional about their admissions because it is a social reality that a degree in medicine ensures a better life for girls”
He expressed fear that some prospective female students might even commit suicide if the PMDC’s decision affects their prospects of securing admission in a medical college. He further added that since 2008, around 67 percent female students have been securing admissions.
A student said that girls cannot serve in the villages due to social problems but the quota system is not the solution.
“Since the government spends so much money on the students’ education, it can make students sign a pact that they will serve for five years after completing their education,” she suggested.
ALL FOR A MARRIAGE PROPOSAL:
However, there are takers of the quota as well.
A student said that research by the PMDC in the last eight years shows that every year approximately 70 per cent of the seats in medical colleges are secured by girls.
“But only 25 per cent girls go on to do jobs whereas the rest do MBBS just for the pride associated with it and to secure good matrimonial prospects,” he said.
Saba Khan, another student said that the girls are not willing to work in far-flung areas.
“It is not about female rights, it is about our system collapsing as no female is interested in going to work in far-flung rural areas,” she added.
Welcoming the decision, Allama Iqbal Medical College Principal Professor Mehmood Shaukat said, “Girls do not serve in far-flung areas after acquiring education. Public resource is being spent on educating a human resource which does not return well on the investment.”
“Even Britain has taken a similar decision. Besides, men are bread winners in our society whereas females can only contribute additionally,” he opined.
It is pertinent to mention here that a senior official confided in Pakistan Today that PMDC does not have a president.
“An acting body took this decision which was signed by the acting registrar,” the official said, adding that no one is paying any heed to the affairs of the council.
Talking to Pakistan Today, State Minister Saira Afzal Tarrar said she could not comment on the development.
“I am unaware of any such notification by the PMDC. My secretary told me that there was something ongoing with the council. I will visit the ministry today (Saturday) and only then will I be able to comment on it,” she said.