Window of hope

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AMA Medical students urged to seek help from their MPs



GOVERNMENT-sponsored students of AMA University who had been barred from returning to continue studies are being urged to seek help from their members of Parliament (MPs).

Government Caucus earlier this year decided to stop sending students to the Philippine institute, opting instead for ongoing students to enrol in regional universities.

But, a government political appointee says there is hope for the students, and that is through pressure from their MPs for Caucus to reverse its decision.

The government official says if the students want to return to the Philippines, Caucus will have to ‘unlock their decision’. As such, only politicians have the power to unlock their decision because they are in the Caucus.

“I ask the students to see their members of parliament who are in Caucus to unlock the decision.

“This is because even the Prime Minister or the Education Minister cannot unlock the caucus decision,” the political appointee said.

The students were sent to the Philippines under government scholarship as result from a Cabinet paper and conclusion which accommodated the years 2016, 2017, 2018 covering Medical studies.

It was general and not specific to any institution in the Philippines, based on the admission provided by students.

However, in 2017 and 2018, public began questioning the credibility of AMA University in providing standard Medical training.

As a result, Government sent a team made up of the current CEO of the National Referral Hospital (NRH), the current National Training Committee (NTC) Chairman and the former National Training Unit (NTU) Director.

The team visited AMA Makati, Manila Central University (MCU) and Perpetual University.

The team, which was led by the NRH CEO, recommended for all medical students to transfer from AMA to MCU or other World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised universities.

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) acted upon the recommendation and advised all medical students attending AMA Makati University to apply for admission and transfer to MCU or other WHO-recognised institutions.

The students complied and applied and have all been given admission either to MCU, De La Salle University or the Adventist University of Philippines (AUP).

The students were asked by Philippines Immigrations to downgrade their visa as part of the process for a new one, to transfer to another University. It is a process to meet requirements of Immigration and CHED.

But, when the students came back before June this year, they were advised by MEHRD that they were being recalled from their studies and the decision to send them back to the Philippines depended on further assessment.

This did not go down well with the students and parents.

One of their worries was that regional institutions may not have the capacity to accommodate such a huge switch of students.

Parents explained via media that the students have completed one-and-half years Pre-Medical training clinical Psychology, passed their entry exam for transfer and have received admission letters from either MCU or De La Salle universities respectively. Both these universities are recognised by WHO.

Another point for the students is the SIG Scholarship policy, which stipulates that a student can only be recalled if he/she has failed academically or has committed a crime in the host country.

And, according to AMA University academic results, all the Solomon Islands students have performed exceptionally well.

With the above, the parents of the students do not see any logical reason why the students should not be allowed to return to the Philippines to continue their medical studies.

Regional universities include University of Papua New Guinea, Fiji National University, and Solomon Islands National University.