ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court recently ordered the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) to address the grievances of the students over the Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) 2020.
The IHC issued the directives while hearing a plea filed by students over the violations by the PMC in the MDCAT exam.
The court said that students should go to the PMC and all their objections would be heard.
During the hearing, the counsel for the students had argued that carrying out exams was not in the domain of the federal government and was a subject of the provincial government.
However, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah rejected the argument and said that regulatory authorities do not fall under the provincial domain. He then ordered the PMC to resolve the complaints of the students.
Protests continue over discrepancies in the entry exam
Students who appeared for the MDCAT 2020 have been protesting the PMC alleging discrepancies in the test and its results.
The controversy is raging over the recent centralised test for admission to medical and dental colleges across the country after many candidates took the PMC to court over out-of-syllabus and ambiguous test questions, marking mistakes, and faulty candidate data.
Last year, the regulator for medical education, PMC, held the MDCAT on November 29 and a special test on December 13 for those who missed the first one for being down with coronavirus.
A total of 121,181 candidates attempted the centralised test in the country’s major cities and 67,611 of them qualified it by securing over 60% marks.
Sindh govt demands to conduct entry test
Amid the criticism on the medical regulator body, the Sindh government has also thrown its full weight behind the students, demanding permission to conduct an entry test for the local medical and dental colleges by itself.
PML-N has also submitted a resolution to the Punjab Assembly demanding rechecking of the MDCAT papers in the presence of candidates and the release of an FIA inquiry into the test irregularities.
Candidates demand rechecking of papers
Several protesting candidates are demanding the rechecking of their papers, some called for the grant of passing marks to be 50% and others wanted grace marks or the MDCAT to be held again.
Candidate Abdul Hadi said the PMC should make the keys of all A, B, C, and D test patterns along with other keys and paper public, reveal the 14 ambiguous MCQs about which it claims grace marks have been granted, and recheck all papers instead of recounting after making them public.
He also demanded the release of the report of the FIA probe into the MDCAT paper leak.
Complaining that the talented aspirants shouldn’t be denied their right to medical and dental education, she said: Please recheck the test with transparency. We want the keys to every code paper.
Bilal Yousafzai wondered why the PMC didn’t upload the MDCAT question paper and official keys to its website.
The protesters have also taken to social media to vent their anger against the PMC.
Human rights activist Jibran Nasir sided with the protesting students and said the PMC had deleted 14 MDCAT questions after admitting they were ambiguous.
“Those [ambiguous] questions were 7% of the test. Also, for candidates based in Sindh, at least 18 questions were out of the syllabus. That is another 9% of the test.
“This shows incompetence and shameful conduct by PMC’s academic board of not applying their mind at all,” he had said in a tweet.
However, the candidates, who passed the MDCAT, declared the PMC admission exercise fair and urged the unsuccessful ones to accept the test results graciously.
PMC rejects allegations
PMC vice-president Ali Raza has rejected the allegation of incorrect marking of some MDCAT questions, saying not only were all papers marked correctly but all candidates got grace marks as well.
He also said some students were shown absent from the test due to a technical error, which was immediately fixed.
Raza said there was no human involvement in paper checking, while the PMC made 27 questions difficult to decide about the college the successful candidate is to be enrolled in.