Students Will Need a NOC from PMDC to Study Abroad

Students looking to pursue medical and dental studies abroad will now be required to obtain a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), starting from the 2024 academic session.

This decision, announced by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C), aims to ensure that students enroll only in recognized educational institutions overseas.

An NHSR&C official confirmed that the PMDC is also considering implementing “additional checks” to further safeguard the quality of education Pakistani students receive abroad. “From now onwards, no Pakistani student will be allowed to go abroad for medical education without an NOC from the PMDC,” the official stated.

The move comes in response to a growing number of students enrolling in unrecognized institutions abroad. Approximately 3,000 Pakistani students, 30% of whom are women, travel annually to countries like China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan for medical education. Others choose destinations such as Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, and Eastern European countries like Romania.

Currently, an estimated 15,000 to 18,000 Pakistani students are studying medicine and dentistry abroad, with families spending approximately $300 million annually on their education. Each family typically pays between $5,000 to $6,000 per year.

The health ministry official highlighted that many of these students are attending substandard institutions that lack adequate clinical exposure. Upon returning to Pakistan, these students must pass the National Licensing Examination (NLE) to practice medicine or pursue specialized education. However, a significant number of foreign-qualified students fail to pass this exam. Language barriers, particularly in countries where medical education is conducted in the national language, further complicate their studies and exam preparation.

Responding to concerns about the need for foreign medical education, the official noted that there are currently 21,000 students enrolled in 185 public and private medical and dental colleges in Pakistan for the 2023-24 academic year. “Our medical and dental colleges are producing a sufficient number of doctors and dentists,” he stated, emphasizing that there is no pressing need for students to seek education abroad.

  • Rather than issuing a list of institutes where students can pursue their education, PMDC has again made a policy to make the life of students difficult by starting a NOC process. A simple list of institute in one column and date from which it is approved in second column can resolve the whole issue without any need of approval process and HR requirement.

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