History of King Edward Medical University (KEMU) or King Edward Medical College KEMC, Lahore (Page 3)

Published on September 1, 2009 at 11:55 am

History of King Edward Medical University (KEMU) or King Edward Medical College KEMC, Lahore (Page 3)

The first group of students from the North western Province was admitted in 1864. As the production of Sub-Assistant Surgeons was expected to outstrip the demand by the Punjab Government, half the scholarships for the English class were earmarked for students from the North Western Province.

Dr. T.E. Burton Brown, the Principal in 1875, had for some time been pressing for a new school building, but the government replied with their usual answer of lack of funds to do so . This was in spite of the contribution of the School towards the welfare of the government by producing 52 Assistant Surgeons and 215 Hospital Assistants for government service. The public and the government were conscious of the performance of the School and the esteem in which it was held, but this did not stop the Lieutenant Governor from charging the graduates with a lack of refinement and their behavior towards the patients being” not kindly and considerate”, though he could not find fault with their medical training.

A class for training Civil Hospital Assistants to serve under the government was an important addition to the school. Eight students joined in 1879. The Nawab of Bahawalpur instituted the Grey Scholarship worth RS. 10,000 in honour of Major Grey, a former Political Agent of Bahawalpur.

A continuous supply of graduates to the Armed Forces started with 15 fresh Assistant Surgeons volunteering for military duty with the Kabul Forces in 1882. The same year, a Midwifery class for ‘dais’ was started. In 1883, this class had only two Muslims out of a total of 20 midwives; the English class had eight Muslim in a class of 61 in 1883, and 12 Muslims out of 82 in 1885. The dropout rate in 1883 was 16% in the English class and 24% in the Hindustani class. This led to the prescription of more stringent tests for admission.

The first building of the Medical School was built in the same style as the Mayo Hospital. it was completed in 1883. The next year, a nursing class was also started. Women students were allowed to register for regular courses in the same class as men for the first time.

J.E. Hilton Executive Engineer, Lahore designed and constructed a new dissection room in 1887. Student’s debating society was formed. Staff and students read and discussed medical and scientific papers. Prizes were awarded for essay writing.
The Marchioness of Dufferin and Anna inaugurated the Lady Aitchison Hospital and distributed prizes, Students admitted into the Indian Medical Service, demonstrating the School’s increasing recognition. Four Assistant Surgeons had been previously admitted.


Lt. Col. S.A. Browne 1889-1903

The Punjab University, was formally created on the 14th of October; 1882 . It had a Faculty of Medicine to function as a body to hold examination and confer diplomas and degrees upon graduates of the Medical School.

This institution came to be known as the Lahore Medical College in 1886. Till 1887, The University awarded the diploma of Licentiate in Medicine to candidates graduating through the English class for western medical science. Students studied for the title of Hakim Haziq , Umdat ul Hukama, Zubdat ul Hukama under the Unani system, in the vernacular. Under the Ayurvedic system, the titles were Vaida’ Bhishak, and Maha Bhishak. In May 1888, however, the 28 Unani and 8 Vedic system students were transferred with their teachers to the Medical School. Their numbers continued to diminish. The end of 1898 brought another migration for them, to the Islamia and DAV Colleges respectively. This left the Lahore Medical College with only students studying the western medical sciences.

The first College Day was held in the college library on the 5th. of November, 1888. The Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab presided.

The Faculty of Medicine prepared a series of Regulations for the Bachelor and Doctor of Medicine degree examinations. The First degrees were conferred in 1891, when the title of the inferior diploma was changed the Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery. Miss. H. Connor was the first woman student to pass the final examination of the Licentiate in medicine and surgery of the Punjab University, in 1889, but she had only a few more months to live. In November, lady Landsdowne laid the foundations of Lady Lyall’s Home, a new hostel for 30 women students.

An outstanding student of the College was Muhammad Abdul Ghani; admitted after his BA from the Punjab University, who compiled a Botany test while a student in medical college and was recommended for the Gilchrist scholarship. That year, 1890, lady Lyall’s Home was completed. Mrs. Hammond was the first lady Superintendent.

Two alumni of this institution joined the Indian Medical Service after successful completion of advanced studies in England. They were placed 3rd and 14th. on the merit list of 14 successful candidates out of 45 applicants for the Service.

To cater for the increasing numbers of students, 322 in 1892, an additional Professor for the Chair of Materia Medica and Pathology was appointed by the Secretary of State for India. There were now eight professor compared to 14 in the Calcutta college. The Anatomy museum was granted RS. 1000.


Lt. Col. F.F. Perry 1903-1908

It was noted that the pass percentage in annual examinations had greatly decreased. According to the Principals report for 1893-94, the causes were

( a ) deficient preliminary education:

(b) inadequate numerical strength of College teachers

(c) a defective educational system.

Changes in the professional staff in 1895 led to a fall in the number of students clearing the clinical subjects. Written examinations were conducted by professors from other medical colleges in the country. It was suggested that internal examiners play a greater part in the assessment of the students’ performance. The University required•• candidates to secure at least 50% marks to pass the examinations, rendering the process a mechanical test ability. Furthermore many students failed the tests by only one mark.

The general public and other students were also disturbed with the university’s record, since an increment in the number of failures could be seen in all the examinations of the University and not the medical ones alone. Consensus said that examinations at all stages were too difficult for a ” youth of ordinary ability”, though he be well taught. The results, it was said, were not comparable with those of other universities as the passing mark was higher in the Punjab, markedly so for the higher examination, whereas the standard of question papers fluctuated greatly. The government decided to lower the standard and bring it at par with the other Indian Universities to allow more students to pass. However, as the entrance examination was considered an inappropriate criterion to judge the academic suitability of students in a milieu where education was not sufficiently advanced, the next year the University Senate decided upon the Intermediate examination in Arts as the minimum entrance requirement, to be effected from 1897. This would prompt an increase in the pass percentage and raise standards, albeit there was a temporary decrease in the number of students on the rolls.

A building housing the Post- mortem theatre and a small two room Pathology laboratory was built in 1895.

During the last five years of the 1800’s the minimum entrance requirement for the Assistant Surgeon for the Assistant Surgeon class was raised to the intermediate Science or the First Arts examinations. A preliminary scientific examination was instituted for the second year of this class. Also a class was started for the training of selected Ward Orderlies.

At the turn of the century, a College for university degree and diploma courses and a School for Health Assistants could be discerned under the blanket of this institution. A class for compounders was started in April 1901. In the College department, 55 students received scholarships from the Punjab government, governments of the North western and Central Provinces, Municipal committee and duffer in Funds, In the School department, 170 received stipends. RS.l 00,000 were finally sanctioned for a hostel.

With the official affiliation of the College with the Punjab University in 1906, the primary science teaching was transferred to the Government College, relieving the Professor of Anatomy and Physiology of a heavy burden. The concomitant revision of Medical Regulations and updating by the University increased the strain on the staff with a resultant addition of the following during 1908-09:-

Professor of Pathology
Professor of Midwifery and diseases of women.
Professor of Ophthalmic Surgery and Disease of the Ear, Nose &Throat.
Assistant to the Professor of Medicine.

Assistant to the Professor of Materia Medica Assistant to the Professor of Physiology.
Meanwhile, in spite of rising expenditure, there had been a fall in the number of students and a sustained low pass percentage in examinations. The differing viewpoints of the academicians and the bureaucrats regarding the function and problems of this institution can been seen in the correspondence between the Inspector General of Hospitals and the Principal. The former had expressed apprehension at the low pass percentage from both the College and the School, resulting in difficulty in filling vacancies, particularly on the military side fed by the School, and asked for measures to reverse the trend . He also questioned the efficiency of the College since expenditure had increased despite fewer students.

Note: Information provided here are for general knowledge purpose only. There is no guarantee of accuracy. For up-to-date and accurate information please visit relevant official web site.

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