THIS is regarding the medical and dental college admission test (MDCAT) to be conducted by the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) and the resultant confusion among candidates of medical colleges.

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, students, in general, and candidates for the entry test to medical colleges, in particular, have been badly affected. But more than the pandemic, the policymakers have played havoc with the issue of entry test to medical colleges in the country.

The first shock came to the aspirants when the test was cancelled by the PMC despite the fact that Khyber Medical University had issued roll number slips for the test.

The second surprise came with a TV interview of a responsible person from the PMC wherein he talked about a very naïve and tedious mechanism for bringing uniformity of syllabus and determining merit in the test.

The next confusion came with the postponement of the test in the light of Sindh High Court decision and the formation of the academic board for determining the syllabus for the test, which has not finalised the MDCAT syllabus so far.

Now while the syllabus is being determined, the PMC has announced Nov 29 as the test date. This announcement came at a time when the students had not yet recovered from the shocks of previous confusions.

It is very likely that the PMC will announce the prescribed syllabus for the MDCAT on the eve of the test which will bring further misery to the candidates.

This whole drama shows that the government is indifferent to the mental torture the students have been passing through. They are dealt with in a robotic manner as if their preparations and performance are not affected by these ad hoc and ill-timed policies.

The PMC authorities should adopt a well-planned policy and issue clarification through newspapers about the status of the revised syllabus, allowing students sufficient time and emotional adjustment for a very important test of their lives.

Prof Iftikhar
Mardan

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2020

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