PMDC Introduces NOC Requirement for Pakistani Medical Students Studying Abroad

The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has announced that Pakistani students wishing to pursue medical and dental studies in foreign countries will now be required to obtain a No-Objection Certificate (NOC). This decision, effective from the 2024 academic session, is aimed at ensuring that Pakistani students receive education only at recognized educational institutions abroad.

Every year, approximately 3,000 students from Pakistan, 30% of whom are women, go abroad for medical education. The majority of these students travel to China, followed by Central Asian countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. Pakistani students also pursue medical education in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, and Eastern European countries like Romania.

Currently, there are around 15,000 to 18,000 students receiving medical and dental education abroad. It is estimated that approximately $300 million are being spent annually on their education in these countries, with each family paying around $5,000 to 6,000 per year.

The PMDC’s decision comes in the wake of a growing number of students enrolling in institutions that are not recognized by the host countries themselves. The health ministry official claimed that many students enrolled in medical and dental programs abroad are attending substandard institutions that do not provide adequate clinical exposure.

Upon completion of their degrees, these students are required to do their house jobs in Pakistan rather than in the host countries. When these students return to Pakistan, they must pass the National Licensing Examination to be eligible to practice medicine or pursue specialized medical education. Unfortunately, the majority of foreign-qualified medical and dental students fail to pass the national licensing exam.

Language is a significant barrier for Pakistani students, as medical education in countries like China, Russia, and Central Asian Republics is conducted in the host countries’ national languages, making it difficult for Pakistani students to pass their exams.

The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C) has stated that the PMDC is considering “additional checks” to ensure that Pakistani students receive education only at recognized educational institutions. This move is expected to prevent Pakistani students from being lured into substandard medical and dental educational institutions.

Without an NOC from the PMDC, no Pakistani student will be allowed to go abroad for medical education from now onwards. This decision by the PMDC is a significant step towards ensuring quality medical education for Pakistani students and safeguarding their future.

The PMDC’s NOC requirement is a significant development in the field of medical education for Pakistani students. It aims to ensure that students receive quality education at recognized institutions, thereby enhancing the standard of medical professionals in the country. While this may pose an additional hurdle for students, it is a necessary step towards ensuring a bright future for them and the medical profession in Pakistan.

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