The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan has warned the universities not to offer undergraduate degrees involving clinical applications without due permission from HEC. Furthermore, HEC has revised the program title i.e., Bachelor of Eastern Medicine and Surgery, changing it to Bachelor of Eastern Medicine by removing the term ‘Surgery’ due to concerns about its misuse.
HEC has noted with grave concern that some universities, without consultation of relevant professional bodies and HEC, have launched diplomas and degrees in disciplines involving clinical applications including but not limited to Dermatology, Dermal Sciences, Aesthetics, Cosmetology, Radiology, Ophthalmology, Anesthesia, Cardiology, Hemodialysis and Neuro-physiology at the undergraduate level.
Considering sensitivities associated with their applications in academics and practice, the universities desirous of offering diploma and degree programs in the aforementioned and allied disciplines involving clinical applications have been advised to furnish a comprehensive dossier for each program for HEC’s approval.
As far as the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery program is concerned, it has been noted that some misunderstanding prevails in academic circles and among students pertaining to the practice of surgery. The issue was also taken up by the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination. According to its directives, and in view of eliminating situations leading to ambiguity and confusion for the students, their parents and employers, HEC has revised the program title as ‘Bachelor of Eastern Medicine’.
For grant of permission for launch programs with clinical application, the universities will be required to submit proof of provision of in-scope diploma/degree program in their Act/Charter, statutory approval for launch of in-scope program, report of market survey conducted for respective program, details of consultations made with stakeholders particularly Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC), eligibility criteria of the program, objectives and learning outcomes of the program, detail of faculty, clinical prospects of practice after graduation and potential avenues for further education.
Unless permission is granted by HEC, universities have been advised not to offer admissions in diploma and degree programs in the aforementioned and allied disciplines at undergraduate level and to stop all ongoing operations in this regard with immediate effect. Degrees offered in violation of this advisory will not be verified by HEC.