52 UZ Medical Students Told To Abandon Degree And Pursue Other Programs

CLOSE to 52 second year medical students from the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences feel unfairly treated for being told to discontinue their program after their request to rewrite a course was disapproved.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

A letter in possession of HealthTimes written to the students advised them to join a different program.

I regret to advise you that you have not been granted approval to repeat AT2M/AT2DM. you are therefore advised to discontinue and apply to join a different program,” said the institution’s deputy registrar Dr Blessing Makunike.

A student who spoke on condition of anonymity told this publication that the Anatomy course is a difficult subject many fail and are usually given the chance to repeat.

“So what happened is that we wrote the Anatomy exam on May 28 last year. The results were published in July. Students who failed that Anatomy applied to repeat that course. For part two we have three courses namely, Anatomy, Behavoral Sciences, and Physiology. So majority failed that course and applied to repeat soon after the results came out early July. They were denied. Their letters came on October 2, after applying early July,” the medical student said.

The students engaged the Vice Chancellor’s office only to be told to wait for an answer.

“We tried to liaise with the Vice Chancellor’s Office, the Appeal’s Committee and we are still waiting for responses but it seems there is no greenlight because we applied through the Quality Assurance Committee and also held a meeting. But the quality assurance committee told us our responses are coming. Up to now no response has come,” he said.

He explained that the discontinuity means one has to apply for another program while continuing doing medicine.

“The challenge we now have is that the semester is about to end and there is no way people can register for another program other than continuing with the program,” the student said.

The student said what also makes this decision unfair is that there is no time to apply for a new program.

“With the semester coming to end, one can not find a different program because people started way back. So it means you have to wait for a year. You have to wait until the end of the semester. There is no February Intake so if you are not going to school, you will have to wait until August which is time wasted,” he said.
He revealed there were some hopefuls yearning for a reconsideration to be allowed to repeat the course.
“Among us are some individuals who paid their fees already hoping they would be allowed to repeat. So its also a matter of concern,” the student said.

However, UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo clarified that they were not denying students the chance to resit for the exam.

[pullquote]“We are actually seized with this issue where students requested for a special dispensation. We have the department of student’s affairs working on that. It’s not like the students were denied the chance to repeat the course.[/pullquote]

“We have to look into the issue with the perspective that the students fail. It is understandable that students fail and they can repeat so that they can progress. I’m sure you understand that students may write their exams and fail and then they have to apply to rewrite the exam as part of our processes,” he said.

Asked if there was any likelihood that the students’ request would be granted, Prof Mapfumo said he is waiting for the recommendations from those handling the matter.

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