Punjab: With a defunct medical education panel, no one to hear students plea
Patiala : Punjab's Medical Education panel has been non functional for the past 6 years, without any one realising the fade out of such an important medical watchdog institution of the state. Meanwhile, Complaints against private medical institutes having increased manifold in recent times.
The directive of this apex authority, as defined under the Punjab Private Health Sciences Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission), Fixation of Fee and Maintenance of Education Standard), Act, 2007 — is to bring transparency and quality into medical education by protecting students from being exploited at the hands of private colleges.
Section 8 of the Act allows the body to accept student’s grievances directly and take cognisance of excess fee and admission related issues on their own. The body has been given the powers to exercise as a court and maintain scrutiny of all college records, by having access to them.
The last panel constituting of government appointed justice Amarbir Singh Gill (retd) as first Chairman along with then-Chandigarh-PGI-Head, Dr KK Talwar and former Punjab University Vice-Chancellor, RP Bambah as first members were appointed on August 27,2008 . Once their term ended, no fresh appointments were made automatically granting the body a defunct status.
According to Gill the body should be re-activated, “since the objectives of the Act cannot be enforced without this authority”.
“We provided a lot of students with relief in many cases,” Gill said “A girl found seat in a government college, after joining a private college initially. We got her fee refunded.”
Bambah said the watchdog required permanent office, staff, and the government’s will to accept its decisions.
The criteria for appointing members is well defined. All medical institutes must display the address and the contact details of this authority. Dr Talwar, its former convener, said: “These bodies are important and that’s why they were constituted in the first place. But I would not be able to answer why it could not sustain thereafter.”
HT summarises details of the authority
The authority Created on: August 27, 2008
Set up under: Punjab Private Health Sciences Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission), Fixation of Fee and Maintenance of Education Standard), Act, 2007
Mandate: To bring transparency and quality into medical education, prevent the exploitation of students
First chairman: Justice Amarbir Singh Gill (retd)
First members: Dr KK Talwar (then head of the PGI, Chandigarh), RP Bambah (former Panjab University vice-chancellor)
Defunct since: 2010, after the term of its members ended and no fresh appointment was made