The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan has issued a warning to universities not to offer undergraduate degree programs involving clinical applications without HEC approval.
Furthermore, due to concerns about the misuse of the term “Surgery,” HEC has changed the program title from Bachelor of Eastern Medicine and Surgery to Bachelor of Eastern Medicine. HEC has expressed grave concern that some universities have launched diploma and degree programs at the undergraduate level in disciplines involving clinical applications such as Dermatology, Dermal Sciences, Aesthetics, Cosmetology, Radiology, Ophthalmology, Anaesthesia, Cardiology, Haemodialysis, and Neuro-physiology without consulting relevant professional bodies or HEC.
Given the sensitivity of their applications in academia and practice, universities interested in offering diploma and degree programs in the aforementioned and related disciplines involving clinical applications have been advised to submit a comprehensive dossier for each program for HEC approval.
Concerning the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery program, it has been noted that some misunderstanding about surgical practice exists in academic circles and among students.
The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination also took up the issue. HEC has revised the ‘Bachelor of Eastern Medicine’ program in response to its directives, with the goal of eliminating situations that cause ambiguity and confusion for students, parents, and employers. For permission to launch programs with clinical applications, universities will be required to submit proof of provision of in-scope diploma/degree program in their Act/Charter, statutory approval for the launch of the 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 leanings of the program, and leanings of the program.
Universities have been advised not to offer admissions in diploma and degree programs in the aforementioned and related disciplines at the undergraduate level unless HEC grants permission, and to halt all ongoing operations in this regard with immediate effect. HEC will not verify degrees awarded in violation of this advisory.