According to a report published on Sunday, the Sindh government is considering the possibility of lowering the passing marks of the recently held Medical and Dental Colleges Entrance Test (MDCAT).
The move is aimed at ensuring that seats in medical and dental colleges do not become vacant.
This was disclosed by Sindh Health Minister Dr. Azra Fazal Pechoho while addressing a press conference in the Sindh Assembly on Saturday.
The provincial health minister told the media that the second option we were considering was that the province should conduct entrance tests in the province’s medical and dental colleges on its own.
He said that the Sindh government was considering such options as a last resort, keeping in view the fact that the candidates appearing in the MD CAT were not satisfied with the entrance test and other concerned students including Sindh The provinces were also protesting against the testing system.
Dr Azra Fazal said that the Sindh government was considering the option of preparing merit lists for admission in medical and dental colleges of the province after reducing the minimum passing marks in view of availability of seats in educational institutions.
He said that compiling merit lists itself would allow the province to fill all the seats in its medical and dental colleges, instead of inviting students from other provinces to fill the vacancies.
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He appealed to the Federal Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination to take a quick look at the situation regarding MD CAT so that the educational future of a large number of students in the country could be secured. “We should not be forced to stick to the wall because it is a matter of our children’s future and working as a silent spectator on this issue is not an option for us,” he said.
He said that PMC has followed a policy of wrong advice and last year decided to reduce the percentage of minimum passing marks of MD Kate from 65% to 60%.
Dr. Azra Fazal Pechoho said there was no need to increase the minimum qualifying marks at a time when the corona virus lockdown had adversely affected the education of college students.
This unfair decision has darkened the future of our children as their educational careers are at stake.
Talking about PMC, the provincial health minister said that we have written a letter to understand the real problems of our students but they are not giving up on this issue.
“Our province has full authority under the law and the constitution to formulate its own policy and test system for admission to its medical and dental colleges,” he said.
Dr Azra explained that due to the unfair system of MD CAT, 492 out of 600 seats available for Bachelors of Dental Surgery available in the province remained vacant.
He further said that there were a total of 2600 seats in private medical colleges in Sindh but 30 per cent of them could not be filled last year.
He said the province’s private medical and dental colleges had no choice but to admit students from other provinces to fill those seats.
Dr Azra Fazal warned that the province would face a shortage of doctors and dentists in four to five years as non-local students return to their native lands to pursue their profession after completing their medical or dental education in Sindh. Will go back to the provinces.
He said that MD Kate’s questions were based on federal and Punjab syllabus while Sindh curriculum was not considered when the questions were prepared.
He commented that when the PMC failed to understand the problems of the students concerned, it lost all its significance.
The Commission should not take the entrance test if it does not have the capacity to conduct the test properly.
Dr. Azra Fazal reminded that the PMC was imposed on the country through an ordinance without the consent of all the federal units in Pakistan.
He said that since the inception of PMC, the problems of doctors and students in the country have increased while the federal units are not in touch with each other.
The provincial health minister was of the view that the PMC had not accepted any benefit as it had failed to serve the nation and had also failed to maintain consistency and unity in the federal units.