HUNDREDS of Doctors of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) graduates are facing an impasse in their careers as the Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council (PVMC) has refused to accredit their degrees and many of them have been shown a `red card’ at Punjab Public Service Commission restraining them from appearing for interviews.

The graduates have also staged protest demonstrations in different parts of the province and claiming that the tussle between the PVMC management and veterinary faculties’ officials is costing them dearly.

The PVMC management says it has been asking the respective universities’ faculties to improve infrastructure, labs, equipment and faculty to earn recognition. “However, the council instructions fell on deaf ears,” a council official says.

The graduates claim that some 2,000 DVM graduates belonging to 2006-2011 session studying at Islamia University, Bahawalpur; Bahauddin Zikariya University, Multan; Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi; and University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, Jhang Campus; have been in a fix since their graduation as neither they are eligible to apply for any public sector job nor getting their due salaries while serving the private sector. “We have been studying for five years, but our universities did not sort out the recognition issue,” one of the graduates laments.

The graduates say that they have earned their DVM degrees and appeared for the PPSC examinations and qualified the written test, but they were given “Rejection Call Letters” before the interviews – because the PVMC told that the council did not recognise them and had not issued them the Registered Veterinary Medicine Practitioners (RVMP) certificates. In order to resolve the issue of DVM graduates, the PVMC, Punjab Livestock Dairy Development Department and Punjab Higher Education Department have decided that all DVM graduates should do a three-month crash course of hands-on training, improve their theoretical and clinical skills and then appear for an examination. Those
qualified, would be given RVMP certificates.

The three line departments have decided that the crash courses would be held during May-July and examination would be held on Aug 1. The examinations will be conducted by respective universities while PVMC would monitor all activities. The council officials would also visit the three universities in the last week of May and assess the situation.

However, graduates say that they had already appeared for a test organised by the PVMC in September last but the ministry of inter-provincial coordination restrained it from declaring the results because holding of examination was never its jurisdiction.
he graduates also point out that the PVMC had declared the three universities — IUB, BZU and AAU — clinically weak, but still asked them to go and take three-month courses at their respective universities.

PVMC President Dr Muhammad Arshad, when contacted, said the council was asking all the four varsities’ faculties to improve infrastructure and faculty strength but all directions fell on deaf ears.

Since the introduction of veterinary faculties in Bahawalpur, Multan, Jhang and Rawalpindi by former Punjab governor Lt-Gen (retired) Khalid Maqbool in 2006, Dr Arshad said the council was asking the respective faculties’ deans to call PVMC visit for the first two years and then improve facilities and earn accreditation for their degrees. “The
universities, however, responded harshly and said that it was varsities’ mandate to launch and run faculties. Now, they are recognising that the PVMC recognition was necessary for the future of their graduates,” he added.

The council and HEC had also asked them not to admit new students until they attain required level of facilities. Dr Arshad said only two female graduates had passed council’s examination in September last. About graduates’ objection that they were being asked to do crash courses at their respective universities, which were clinically weak, the PVMC
president said the HEC had released some Rs4.5 million for the three-month training of graduates and the respective varsities said that they had attained the required expertise and
could train the graduates. He said the graduates would also be given stipend during training.

Regarding the academic and practical quality of the four institutions, Dr Arshad said the council had visited the UVAS Jhang Campus a couple of days ago and decided to award it recognition for one year. However, the PVMC has asked the three veterinary faculties at IUB, BZU and AAU to stop admitting new students. “The varsities should produce doctors
and not quacks,” he added.

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