LAHORE:Given the government’s financial constraints, the King Edward Medical University (KEMU), Lahore, has embarked upon an ambitious plan to launch new programs for generation of its own resources for academic, research and developmental projects in the varsity.
In an exclusive interview with The News here on Thursday, KEMU acting vice-chancellor Prof Dr Asad Aslam Khan said that there was a need for plugging in resources to run academic and research activities and execute development projects in a medical university. The activities and projects, he added, had to be shelved if the administration depended on the cash-starved government for provision of funds. Therefore, he maintained, it was the responsibility of all the autonomous medical teaching institutions to devise their own strategy to generate resources on their own – especially in view of the provincial government’s limitations to provide additional resources, as it has to divert huge resources for rehabilitation of flood victims; increase in salaries of doctors; free treatment and medicines in public sector hospitals. Besides, the plan, he added, would help the varsity share the government’s policy of self-reliance, rather than depending on the foreign aid.
In this connection, he said, the varsity administration would soon be opening collection centres of KEMU Diagnostic Lab in different parts of Lahore, which would not only provide quality diagnostic facilities to the masses but also earn a substantial sum of money on a regular basis for the university. The collections centres, he said, would be opened on the pattern of collection centres of Shaukat Khanum Hospital and Aga Khan University – a major source of their income. Besides, KEMU’s Pathology Department service would be available round the clock for private patients, helping the varsity generate a hefty amount.
The unclaimed bodies kept in the mortuary would also be made available for the private medical institutions for teaching and training of their students; although it would generate only a small amount of money but it would facilitate private institutions to provide quality training to their students.
Furthermore, he said, the KEMU would also unveil a “Donors Wall” encircling the sports ground, which would involve all past graduates to reserve a brick inscribed with their names at a cost of Rs 50,000 each in order to contribute to academic and extra-academic activities in their alma mater.
“We will write to all graduates from across the world, including those in the US, the UK, Europe, the Middle East, the Far East. The KEMCANA - the Kemcolians Association of North America – would also be asked to donate and effectively contribute to the development of the university,” he added.
The funds so generated, Prof Asad Aslam Khan said, would be utilized for future projects, including establishment of Institute of Neurosciences, Institute of Basic Sciences, Institute of Urology and Transplantation, Institute of Maxillofacial Surgery and Institute of Allied Health Sciences.
He said that the KEMU had already started construction work on a new seven-storey building adjacent to Patiala Block, which would house an auditorium with a capacity of 600 extendable to 1,000 persons; modern library; state-of-the-art lecture theatre; research and development wing; examination hall; offices of the Registrar; and Controller of Examinations, Treasurer and all other administrative offices. “The project will be completed within a stipulated period of two years with a total cost of Rs 220 million,” he said, adding that, originally, it was a project of Rs 479 million funded by the Higher Education Commission. The university had only received an amount of Rs 59 million before the controversy over the existence of HEC, while the remaining amount was to be released in phases. “The KEMU will complete the project through its own resources if the HEC doesn’t release the amount,” he added.
He informed that the KEMU would also start construction of an Animal House in the university from next week, which would greatly help in imparting quality training to the medical students and research purposes. The renovation and up-gradation of basic science departments of Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology was also in progress in the university.
Besides, he said, a new floor of Girls Hostel would also be constructed on our own resources because the girls’ strength had outnumbered boys, with 65:35 ratio of admissions on 325 seats in the university. Besides, he said, a state-of-the-art ICU in Mayo Hospital was being established at a cost of Rs 8.5 million collected through donations, which would be completed within one month. Furthermore, a double road was also being constructed in front of Paeds Emergency in the Mayo Hospital with the help of philanthropists, he said.
The KEMU acting vice-chancellor further informed that the varsity was a premier medical institution, which had been the first choice of FSc and A-Level students as it topped the merit amongst all medical institutions in the province. He said that rules and regulations had been framed under the KEMU (Amendment) Act 2010 and all the departments were fully functioning under these rules and regulations. “It has established an absolutely fair and transparent examination system by using fictitious roll numbers,” he said, adding that papers were not sent outside the university and all the examiners were bound to mark the papers in Examination Department of the university.
He said that the KEMU was running 54 undergraduate and postgraduate courses, which were recognized by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council. As against the previous number of 1,300 to 1,400 students in the institution, presently there were more than 3,000 students studying in different undergraduate and allied health sciences as well as postgraduate courses, including MS, MD, MDS, M.Phil and PhD in the university. “The PhD program has become very popular because of the high-caliber local and adjunct PhD faculty,” he said and added that the promotion of research was top priority of the university as an amount of Rs 20 million was allocated for research in the current financial year. He said that the KEMU had the largest faculty amongst the medical institutions, adding that there were 49 posts of professors out of which currently only eight seats of professors, including two seats of professor of Anatomy and one seat each of professors of Pharmacology, Biochemistry, Medicine, Neurosurgery, Cardiac Surgery and TB & Chest Diseases, were lying vacant. “The applications have already been received in response to the advertisement in this regard, and the postings would be made as soon as clearance is received from the Health Department, Punjab,” he informed.
Moreover, the KEMU is going to hold its 3rd convocation for the session 2009-2010 on May 28, 2011, which is expected to be chaired by Chief Minister, Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif and Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa being the guest of honor on the occasion. The medals and degrees would be awarded to the 340 graduates, including 225 graduates of session 2009-2010 and 115 from the sessions from 1999 to 2006. The graduates of sessions 2006-2008 were conferred their degrees during the last two convocations held in 2008 and 2010. “The convocation, which is an academic feast and honor for the graduates, will be a regular annual feature of the university,” he said.The news