LAHORE - The Inter-Medical University Board, consisting of Vice-Chancellors and Rectors of medical varsities, on Monday, announced a uniformed policy with regards to online classes and assessments in medical and dental colleges across the province in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting of the board was held here at the University of Health Sciences (UHS), which was chaired by UHS VC Prof Javed Akram.

Others, who attended included King Edward Medical University (KEMU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Khalid Masud Gondal, Fatima Jinnah Medical University (FJMU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Aamir Zaman Khan, Faisalabad Medical University (FMU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Zafar Ali Choudhry, Superior Univesity’s Rector Dr Sumaira Rehman, Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) Principal Prof Mehmood Ayaz, University of Lahore (UoL) Pre-Rector Prof Shahid Mahmud Malik, KEMU Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Ijaz Hussain, UHS Registrar Prof Asad Zaheer and Controller of Examinations Dr Saqib Mehmood.

The Vice-Chancellor of Rawalpindi Medical University Prof Muhammad Umar and Principal, AJ&K Medical College Muzaffarabad Prof Sarosh Majid participated through video link.

It was unanimously decided by the board that no student of any medical or dental college would be promoted to next class without passing the examination.

The Supplementary examinations which were postponed due to coronavirus in March this year would be conducted in June.

It was also decided that no grace marks would be awarded to any failing candidate to pass an exam. “We can’t compromise the standards of medical education. Medical students are advised to prepare for examinations”, said Prof Javed Akram adding that cancelling examination and promoting students would render irreversible loss to the standards of medical education.

It was also decided that the examinations would be conducted as per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) with special emphasis on social distancing and Examination centres will be increased.

Moreover, a special examination will be conducted for the candidates stranded in foreign countries after the resumption of flight operations”, said Prof Aamir Zaman Khan. It was also decided not to delay the current academic session in any case and conduct the examinations of this year in October as per notified schedule.

With regards to online teaching for medical students, it was agreed that virtual classes should continue while making them more interactive in nature.

The members also supported the idea of conducting Intermediate Examinations by various educational boards as well as Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) by the admitting universities ensuring social distancing.  Prof Javed Akram said that the MDCAT could be postponed till end of September.

He, however, emphasized the need of developing consensus among all stakeholders in this regard.  He said that he would request the Punjab Governor to convene a meeting of heads of all medical and dental institutions on this important issue while taking federal education minister on board.