Sep 16 (APP): The Senate Standing Committee on Education on Tuesday recommended
that a fact finding mission be dispatched to Cuba after Eid to ascertain the
truth about the plight of Pakistani medical students in Cuba.
committee which met at the Parliament House here under Senator Razina Alam Khan
discussed the matter referred to it by the Senate on September 5. The issue was
raised in the house by Senator Raza Muhammad Raza on a point of order.
committee recommended that Pakistani students studying in Cuba should bee
provided return tickets at least twice during the entire duration of the course
so that they could meet their family members in Pakistan.
committee also recommended that the students’ monthly stipend be increased from
50 to 100 Euros immediately besides initiating other measures for their welfare
like uninterrupted internet and telephone connections and better transport
committee unanimously proposed the name of Dr. Kausar Firdous as the
representative of the Senate for inclusion in the delegation.
body also directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to take the Pakistan
Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) on board on the issue. It observed that
concerns of the parents must be addressed and allayed.
A number of
members of the Committee reminded that a few years back a situation had arisen
as the PMDC had serious problems with the private medical colleges, since they
were lacking some facilities which were needed before issuing them
an assurance that the same would not happen to Pakistani students who were
studying medicine in Cuba once they have completed their courses of study and
returned to Pakistan for practicing the medical profession.
recommended that instead of teaching the Spanish language to these students in
Cuba, the language training be given to them in Pakistan.
Senator Raza Muhammad Raza who had visited the medical city in Cuba where the
Pakistani students are studying informed the Senate committee that the
curriculum being taught over there was different from that of Pakistan and the
students have reservations whether they are going to get medical degrees. He
said that the students are worried about their future.
home sick, facing financial problems and having concerns about the status of
their degree apart from lack of availability of books, laboratories and other
facilities, the Senator said.
Chairman HEC Dr Atta-ur Rehman informed the Senate body that he held three
meetings with the Cuban Ambassador in Islamabad over the issue who had
categorically held out an assurance that the Pakistani students would get a
degree from ELAM which is being recognized by the WHO and students of as many
as 27 countries are studying there.
Representatives of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs submitted before the
Senate body that the ministry and Pakistan Ambassador to Cuba are in touch with
the students. “We are grateful to the Cuban Government for having provided 1,000
Cuban Scholarships for medical studies to Pakistani students,” she said.
told the committee that it is a gift to Pakistan as there is no tuition fee for
the students and they are being provided free residential facilities, free food
that their government especially created a city about 140 km from Havana. The
area is like a medical education city housing schools for several countries
including China, Brazil,Mexico Mali,Yemen, etc. She went on to add that the
Pakistani students in the medical programme would be issued degrees by ELAM (WHO
recognized) and this programme is internationally recognized.
Committee lauded the gesture of the Cuban government and also commended the
useful services rendered by the Cuban medical team during October 2005
meeting urged the government to urgently provide funding for setting up nine new
universities as part of the expansion programme.It expressed concern over
non-release of funds allocated to the HEC and a cut of Rs. 6,0 billion imposed
on the last year’s budget, as a result of which several of the universities have
to borrow as much as Rs. 1.5 billion from the banks to pay salaries to their
Chairperson informed the Committee that she had met Prime Minister in this
connection and apprised him of the situation. She said that the expansion
project would be jeopardized if the funds already allocated are not provided.
She said that the Committee would hold a meeting with the Finance Division in
this connection after Eid.
was attended, besides the Chairperson of the Committee Senator Mrs. Razina Alam
Khan by Senators Mrs. Tahira Latif, Rehana Yahya Baloch, Syed Javed Ali Shah,
Dr. Muhammad Said, Liaqat Ali Bangulzai, Sajid Mir, Prof. Muhammad Ibrahim
Khanand Dr. Kausar Firdous on special invitation.