LAHORE, March 6: The University of Health Sciences has taken exception to the province-wide protests by the failed students of various public and private medical institutions and formally dubbed the campaign ‘sponsored’.
An exhaustive report submitted to the Punjab chief minister by the University of Health Sciences’ Examination Department also challenged the plea of hundreds of students, closing the chapter of any ‘relaxation’ for them.
The report rejects the ‘flaws’ identified by the students in the results of MBBS 2nd Professional Annual 2011 examinations and declared the agitation a ‘sponsored’ one. However, the elements behind the ‘sponsored’ protests were not identified in the six-page document.
Interpreting the word ‘sponsored’, a senior official told Dawn that as one of the complaints of the agitating students was related to low percentage in the examination, owners of some private medical colleges in order to conceal their professional incompetence provoked the failed students against the UHS administration to get ‘undue relaxation’.
Submitted by UHS Controller of Examinations Prof Dr Junaid Sarfaraz Khan, the report was finalised on the basis of the recommendations of four subject-wise committees of senior teachers and subject specialists.
The students of some medical colleges launched province-wide agitation two weeks ago to point out ‘flaws and anomalies’ which led to the failure of scores of them in the MBBS Second Professional Annual 2011 examinations.
The students contended that the level of difficulty of some questions was up to the third-year exams, some other questions were out of syllabus and there was strict marking. They demanded compensation through revision of results.
The UHS called a meeting of the 28 principals of affiliated public and private medical colleges, who recommended that independent committees of subject specialists be set up to review the question papers of all the subjects and that the supplementary examination would be held 40 days after the UHS decision.
The report, which was carrying references of the Supreme Court verdicts, recommendations of senior teachers and rules of the UHS, said the results were announced on Feb 20 and the pass percentage remained 53.29 inclusive of all colleges (nine public and 11 private) affiliated with the UHS.
It rejected the claim of the agitating students of low percentage, saying the results of individual medical colleges that ranged from 74.21 to 25.33 per cent were not much different than the results of previous years.
According to the subject-wise percentage of the results, the percentage of Pharmacology and Therapeutics was 64.28 per cent, General Pathology 79.84 per cent, Forensic Medicine and Toxicology 88.56 per cent and Behavioral Sciences 75.62 per cent.
The report said a three-member committee on Pharmacology declared, “The committee reviewed the question papers i.e. SEQ and MCQ in detail. The papers were according to the prescribed syllabus and as per table of specifications designed”.
Another three-member committee of senior doctors said, “Pathology paper was thoroughly scrutinised and unanimous decision is that the paper was absolutely acceptable and was up to the standard of the 2nd Professional MBBS students”.
A four-member committee of medical teachers declared: “The question papers of forensic medicine and toxicology in both the MCQs and SEQ were from within the undergraduate syllabus prescribed by UHS and were neither complicated nor difficult except Q No 32 in MCQ paper that has already been deleted as per difficulty index formula set by the varsity.”
The fourth committee (comprising three senior medical teachers) on Behavioral Sciences said “there were three ambiguous questions that needed to be corrected. However, as per record of examinations department it was clear that these three questions had already been deleted from assessment.
“The review committee is of the opinion that the paper is in order and there is no margin of correction or giving advantage to the students,” the report said.
It concluded: “In accordance with the orders of Supreme Court related to abolition of grace marks, international accreditation of assessment and evaluation at UHS and in the light of the reports by the review committees the result cannot be changed. There is no recommendation to change the result.”
It, however, left an option of ‘rechecking’ for the protesting students. “The students have an option of seeing their papers by submitting applications for rechecking on designated UHS forums through their respective principals and fulfilling all codal formalities.”
The date for supplementary examination has been fixed as April 20.