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Monday, 02 February 2015

 

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Pakistani medical students in Cuba: Senate body for sending fact-finding mission PDF Print E-mail

ISLAMABAD, 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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  facilities.

The committee unanimously proposed the name of Dr. Kausar Firdous as the representative of the Senate for inclusion in the delegation.

The Senate 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 accreditation.

They wanted 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.

They recommended that instead of teaching the Spanish language to these students in Cuba, the language training be given to them in Pakistan.

Earlier, 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.

They are 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.

The 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.

The 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.

She also 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 and books.

She added 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.

The Senate Committee lauded the gesture of the Cuban government and also commended the useful services rendered by the Cuban medical team during October 2005 earthquake.

Later, the 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 staff.

The 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.

The meeting 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. 

 

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