ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has issued a circular restricting the movement of faculty members from one college to another, except on receipt of a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the previous institution.
The circular states that faculty migration would only be allowed between colleges that are recognized by PMDC, and that such migrations will only be allowed on the issuance of an NOC from the previous institution.
Moreover, an institution will only be allowed to issue an NOC to a leaving faculty member if it has a minimum number of faculty members, in accordance with the Medical and Dental Institutions Regulations 2012.
The new orders have been met with strong criticism from faculty members of medical and dental colleges. A senior faculty member associated with a private medical college expressed concern over the PMDC circular, calling it a violation of basic human rights. It would leave faculty members’ fate at the mercy of their respective institutions, he said.
With the new orders in place, colleges would be in a position to blackmail, harass and exploit their faculty members, he said. For example, Margalla Institute of Health Sciences had not paid its employees’ salaries for four months and there was no one to take action against them. The new orders would prevent the employees from seeking employment elsewhere as now they could not leave their college without its approval.
He said that the PMDC should also have taken steps to safeguard the rights of current faculty members in private colleges. 26,000 faculty members are needed to staff the 150 medical colleges of Pakistan, he informed, but the current number stands at 17,000. With the addition of 20 new colleges, recently sent by the health ministry to PMDC for approval, this number would go up to 32,000 faculty members.
When contacted, Lt Gen (R) Abdul Khaliq Naveed, member of PMDC, admitted the disadvantages of PMDC’s recent circular. He said that the council had relaxed the order by allowing faculty members to move to new colleges if the previous institution retained 70 percent of its faculty.
Responding to a question, he said that PMDC would not allow private institutions to harass its employees by misusing the current orders. For example, he said, Mirpur Medical College had been derecognised by the council after it failed to pay the salaries of its employees for eight months, among other reasons.
President PMDC Dr Shabbir Lehri said that the purpose of the decision was to prevent new institutions from stealing faculty members of old institutions by offering them attractive incentives. The country was already facing a shortage of faculty and new colleges would often entice faculty members to join their institutions in order to gain recognition by PMDC.
PMDC would also protect the rights of employees of medical and dental colleges, he concluded.