Islamabad: Muhammad Ali Raza, Vice-President, Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) recently said that the commission has planned to hold National Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) exams on November 15.
Addressing a press conference, he said the final date for registration of the students for MDCAT had been changed from November 2 to November 6.
He said automated admission process for private colleges had been finalized, allowing students to choose the college of their liking under their requisite merit.
He said each provincial government would make public colleges’ admissions while the Foreign Medical Graduates (FMG) process is being undertaken to verify foreign colleges.
He said the necessity of having a uniform MDCAT is to teach a level playing field for all aspirants.
He said there is no quota for international students; however, provincial and Federal governments may establish any allocation deemed appropriate for seats allocated to a public college under their jurisdiction.
He added only two requirements applicable to all such public quotas included any student being admitted on such a quota is to have qualified the national MDCAT to obtain a license post-graduation, and no allocation can cause the maximum seats allocated to a public college to be exceeded above the approved assigned number.
Ali Raza said the need for a standardized national admission examination is necessary so that the entire country can be on a level playing field in terms of merit for the benefit of all aspirants across all provinces.
He said the disparity in the merit would further exacerbate individual admitted students experience going through a challenging degree such as medicine. “In the past, the MDCAT conducted by University of Health Sciences (UHS) for Punjab has been consistently stated by students and other provincial universities to be not as comprehensive and hence, lower in difficulty level, to the MDCAT being conducted by other provincial universities,” Ali said.
“This resulted in students in Punjab scoring higher than the national average, which affected the merit for other provinces, leaving students at a disadvantage,” he added.
He said it is on this basis that, in the past, provinces of Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa asked the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) to restrict admissions in private colleges based on domicile, contrary to the regulations as were applicable at that time.
Ali Raza said, “To make this MDCAT, we took all provincial boards and extracted the overlap to create a common syllabus from which the exam will be made from.” He said to reiterate; a new syllabus has not been created for the MDCAT this year. The exam is composed of all material from all provincial boards that overlap.
He said in terms of exemption from the MDCAT; only international students would be eligible to apply to medical colleges in Pakistan using their SAT-II results according to the weights like Biology 40%, Chemistry 35% and Physics/Maths 25%.
In these cases, due to the impact of COVID-19 on SAT-I availability around the world; English would be exempted if their HSSC/High school program’s medium of teaching was English.
He said that international students would be required to compete with Pakistani students based on merit so that there is no discrimination.
Replying to a question on FMG, he said if the FMG has obtained their qualification from a college which is recognized by the commission, they will receive a provisional license to do their house job in Pakistan. Their full license will be issued after they pass their National License Examination (NLE).
He said if the FMG has completed their house job, their provisional license will expire. They will be required to take the NLE to obtain a full license, the Good Standing Certificate has nothing to do with NLE, and it will only be issued if the FMG has a valid permit issued by the commission to practice medicine in Pakistan. “The only exemption from NLE is under Section 20(3), where it allows a full license to be issued to a practitioner who is licensed to practice in a foreign country and has acquired a recognized post-graduate qualification,” Ali said.