PESHAWAR: Amid the growing number of candidates for admission to public sector medical and dental colleges, Khyber Medical University Vice-Chancellor Prof Ziaul Haq keeps his fingers crossed that the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council will allow more enrolments in MBBS and BDS courses from early 2025.
“With more and more students sitting the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test every year, we [KP] expect the PMDC’s green light for 250 more[colleges] seats from the 2024-25 academic session slated to starting Feb 2025,” Prof Haq told Dawn.
He said the Timergara Medical College would become functional in the 2024-25 session giving the province 100 more medical college seats, while the Saidu Medical College Swat and Kohat Medical College would enroll 50 and 100 more students next year.
“If things go as planned, KP’s medical and dental colleges enrolments will go up by 250 and 100 respectively in Feb 2025,” he said.
KMU VC says number of admission seekers rising
The VC said as the regulator for medical education, it was the domain of the PMDC to increase or decrease medical and dental college seats in the country after the inspection of teaching and clinical facilities.
“Though most medical and dental colleges are saturated, more admissions will be offered where there is room,” he said.
Prof Haq said the Gomal Dental College, Dera Ismail Khan, as well as the KMU-run Kohat Dental College, Kohat, could enroll 50 more students each.
Officials told Dawn that there were 1,754 seats in the province’s 15 public sector medical and dental colleges and 1,425 in 16 private ones taking the overall enrolment tally to 3,179.
They said compared with private colleges, the public sector ones were the “top priority” of students for having more facilities and charging lower fees.
The officials said private medical colleges collected around Rs2 million from every students annually but the annual charges of government colleges stayed below Rs75,000.
They said the public sector medical and dental colleges offered 1,021 seats for “merit-based” admission, while the rest were distributed to the students from the erstwhile Fata, backward areas, Gilgit-Baltistan and Afghanistan as well as those seeking admission on self-finance basis.
Officials in the health department said that the KMU, the province’s admitting medical university, was in contact with the PMDC for an increase in the number of medical and dental colleges’ seats to accommodate more and more admission seekers as most people couldn’t afford fee.
Last Sunday, the MDCAT was held afresh after the provincial cabinet cancelled the Sept one over “cheating and massive irregularities.
A total of 46,218 candidates registered themselves for the test and 34,852 of them (75 per cent) sat it.
Officials said 21,206 (61 per cent) candidates passed the test for enrolment in MBBS course and 24,283 (70 per cent) for BDS programme but the seats were too few to accommodate even 10 per cent of the passing students.
They said the health department was working on a plan to see the possibility of establishing more medical colleges in Buner, Mansehra, Karak, Haripur and Charsadda due to the rising number of MDCAT candidates.
The officials said the medical teaching institution Lady Reading Hospital had also started preparations to have an affiliated medical college.
They added that the LRH had all facilities required for a medical college, so the go-ahead would come from the PMDC without trouble.
The officials said the province required more medical and dental colleges to increase merit-based enrolments.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2023