CIIT 66th Convocation | PMDC move & teachers shortage

Degrees awarded to 624 students
Islamabad, Oct 13: The Comsats Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) held its 66th Convocation at Convention Centre, on Tuesday and awarded graduate and postgraduate degrees, who secured BS, MS, MBA and PhD degrees in disciplines of Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics, Biosciences, Business Administration, Computer Engineering, Telecommunication Engineering, Electronics, Mathematics and Architecture.

There were total 624 successful students at Islamabad campus. PhD degrees were awarded to four students; in Bio Sciences, Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. On the occasion Chancellor's, Institute and Campus Medals were also awarded to position holding students from CIIT.

Graduate and postgraduate students bagged medals with highest CGPA in their respective degree programmes.

Dr. S. M. Junid Zaidi, CIIT rector, was the chief guest on the occasion, awarded degrees and medals to successful students. He addressed the gathering and said that knowledge acquirement and higher education are transforming virtually every aspect of today's world. He also appreciated the efforts of CIIT faculty, Management and visionary leadership. He said that CIIT, recognising its duties, is committed to provide the best opportunities for learning and personal development within a caring and supportive environment.

Professor Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Khan, chairman HEC attended convocation ceremony and addressed the gathering and appreciated the achievements of CIIT.

Institute report was presented by Pof. Dr. Azhar Hussain, Registrar CIIT, he presented the details of CIIT programs and accomplishments and highlighted the research activates, national and international collaborations and current and future academic programs and achievements of CIIT. Executive Director of Comsats and Chairman Board of Governors Dr. Imtnan Ellahi Qureshi have also attended the ceremony.

The Chancellor's Gold medallists included; Abdul Basit, Muhammad Usman, Shaista Yousaf, Fawad Badar, Sheikh Muhammad Naveed Iqbal, Nauman Zia Butt, Rija Iqbal, Moiz Khan, Sahar Shabbir, Amna Farooq and Iqra Ishaq. The news

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US launches second phase of scholarship programme
Islamabad: The United States government has launched the second phase of its Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Program (MNBSP) which will benefit 3,000 talented students who are in need of financial assistance to pursue higher education in a ceremony held Wednesday at the Higher Education Commission.

The new phase of this U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded scholarship program was announced by Gregory Gottlieb, Mission Director, USAID) Pakistan at an event also attended by Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms. Professor Mukhtar Ahmad, Executive Director, Higher Education Commission and Vice Chancellors of USAID's partner universities were also present.A total of 1,807 scholarships were awarded in Phase 1of the program and more than 1,350 of these students have already obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The scholarship program also served as a catalyst for other donors to award scholarships at participating institutions, resulting in more than doubling the number of students enrolled since 2004. Based on the successes of the program, needs based scholarships have increased from two to about 70 public and private universities since 2004."The U.S. government through USAID has decided to expand the Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Program through HEC by providing an additional $23.1 million to benefit 3,000 more talented Pakistanis.

Eighteen additional universities have been included and new fields of study will allow Pakistanis to pursue degrees in the most sought after fields of studies to meet the needs of the job market", said Gregory Gottlieb, Mission Director, USAID. He added that "half of these scholarships have been set aside for women, and to help ensure that we achieve this goal four women-only universities have been added to the expanded program".Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, thanked the United States for its continued support to Pakistan's education sector and noted that students are selected for the scholarships based on financial need, after gaining university admission.

The Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Program is part of the comprehensive U.S. education assistance program in Pakistan, which includes building or rehabilitating more than 850 schools; establishing centers for advanced studies at three Pakistani universities to focus on applied research in energy, agriculture and water; expanding English skills for more than 5,000 low-income students; and creating accredited degree programs in education at 90 teachers' colleges and universities across Pakistan.Daily times

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PMDC move causes shortage of 7,000 teachers in medical colleges
Islamabad: Instead of improving the quality of medical education in the country, the policies of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) are resulting in a steep decline in the standards of the country's once reputed medical profession.

According to sources, the country's premier regulatory authority has imposed a unique ban on PhD scholars to teach in medical colleges - a move that has contributed towards shortage of over 7,000 teachers in medical colleges countrywide.

All over the world, non-medical graduates having MSc and PhD/DSc degrees in the relevant subjects of basic Medical Sciences (Biochemistry, Physiology, Anatomy, Pathology etc) are hired for teaching in medical colleges.

But in Pakistan, the PM&DC has amended the rules to bar these subject specialists from teaching in medical colleges despite the fact that world's top medical schools like Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge allow non-MBBS specialists of related subjects to teach students.

As per PMDC rules dated 15th May 2003, the criterion for appointment of teachers in medical colleges was flexible.

"Non-medical graduates having MSc and PhD/DSc degrees in the relevant subjects of basic Medical Sciences (Biochemistry, Physiology, Anatomy, Pathology etc) are eligible for posting as assistant professor, associate professor and professor, provided medical graduates are not available after repeated advertisements," the law stated.

However on December 22, 2011, the council changed the criteria and those qualified persons, who had MSc/PhD degrees in the above subjects but no basic MBBS degree, were declared ineligible for teaching.

Prima facie, the decision was taken in the interest of jobless medical graduates, but the listless administration failed to understand the long-term implication of the decision and the practice in other developed and developing countries.

But within next two years, the PMDC realised the consequences of its decision in the form of unavailability of qualified teaching staff in majority of the medical colleges.

Later in its meeting in October 2013, the regulatory body eased the restriction and allowed non-MBBS PhD specialists of respective basic medical sciences to teach in medical colleges. However, it imposed another condition that they were not allowed to teach at undergraduate level.

Taking the new decision, the PMDC again failed to address the basic issue of shortage of teachers at undergraduate level, as the postgraduate studies were available only in a few medical colleges of the country.

According to sources, currently there are around 130 medical colleges in the country and in order to provide quality education, they need the services of around 19,000 teachers. However, in reality there are only 12,000 teachers in these 130 medical colleges and around 7,000 seats are still vacant.

When contacted, a spokesperson for PMDC, Hina Shaukat, said the council modified rules as per PM&DC regulations and in easy way it implemented them, as undergraduate students had to study human body and organs and therefore a doctor can more effectively teach these basic medical subjects but a non-technical teacher who has never done any procedure or practice cannot be more precise about the subjects.

"The PMDC has the authority to amend and revise rules under Section 33 of the Ordinance. The aggrieved may prefer appeal to the council through registrar PM&DC," she said.

Asked why the council was not addressing the issue of teachers shortage in medical colleges, she said: "The PMDC is not an appointing /hiring authority but a regulatory authority; it's duty/responsibility of medical dental colleges to fill the vacant seats of teachers according to the eligibility criteria determined by the PM&DC and PM&DC to ensure the fulfillment of the completion of full faculty as per its minimum criteria and if any college lacks in the criteria the PM&DC bans admission to rectify the faculty position," she added.

However, experts differed with the PMDC spokesperson and termed the council's decision unrealistic.

"Throughout the world, the eco system of a medical college is made up of so many medical and non-medical strata and there is always an unmatchable harmony between the medical and non-medical teachers and scientists in medical institutions. Pakistan could not be out of that system," said Dr Muhammad Siddique, ex-chief/principal of National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad.

He said even in India such non-medical PhD specialists were employed in the fields of pre-clinical/basic medical sciences and promoted to the posts of professors.

"A study of the syllabi also gives a clear evidence that the MSc/PhD specialists study 7-8 times more courses of their subject than the medical graduates of medical colleges and as such should be the first choice for teaching in medical colleges," he added.

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PMDC to comply with court orders on Shifa College
Islamabad: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has said it will comply with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) orders on the recognition of the Shifa College of Medicine and Dentistry, Islamabad.

Talking to this scribe on Wednesday, PMDC President Dr. Masood Hameed Khan said his organisation, the national regulator of medical and dental education and practice, had never compromised on merit and would continue doing so. He said the PMDC had refused to register the students of Shifa College of Medicine and Dentistry after the college re-affiliated itself with unrecognised Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University.

Dr. Masood Hameed said the IHC had directed the Shifa College of Medicine and Dentistry to stop medical and dental admissions until further orders, a decision which confirmed the PMDC's stand on the matter. He said the court had asked the college to ensure the examination of its students by the Bahria University with whom it was affiliated earlier. The news

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