Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood announced on Thursday that students who have not yet taken their grade 12 exams will be allowed to appear in the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT) due to be held from Aug 30 to Sept 30.
In a statement shared on Twitter, Mahmood said a high-level meeting was held in Islamabad today, co-chaired by him and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, to discuss various ways to save the academic year of pre-medical/A2 students amid Covid-19 and ensure their admission in public and private medical universities in the country.
The Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) informed the meeting that according to the PMC Undergraduate Education (Admissions, Curriculum and Conduct) Regulations 2021, "all students who wish to seek admission in medical and dental colleges can take the MDCAT examination even if they have not yet taken their FSc pre-medical or A-Level exams."
Under the regulations, all students who are taking their A-Level exams in October can take the MDCAT in September and apply for admission to medical colleges before their exams are held, the statement said.
According to the PMC regulations, admissions have to be finalised by medical and dental colleges by Jan 15, 2022. However, since the results of A-Level students are expected to be released in January, the PMC has asked the colleges to "not finalise the admission on seats equal to the applicants who have taken their A-Levels in October and are awaiting their results and the admission on these seats will be finalised after the results are available".
The PMC would allow medical colleges to finalise admissions on these "special category seats" by Feb 10, 2022, the statement added.
The PMC vice president also asked Mahmood to consider the issue of using only the results of elective subjects for the determination of merit for public colleges since students are only taking exams for elective subjects this year, adding that the body was also considering a policy for private colleges in this regard.
It was also agreed in the meeting that the education ministry would "closely coordinate" with provincial governments for the implementation of the admissions policy.
Earlier this month, the PMC had announced a number of decisions regarding the MDCAT.
"The examination will take place from Aug 30 to Sept 30, 2021, in 20 designated cities across Pakistan and in selected cities abroad depending on registration by the students. Applicants will have the option to schedule and reschedule their examinations to time slots that are more convenient for them. The applicants will also be provided online tutorials and practice tests to help them familiarise themselves with the format of the exam," the PMC president had said.
"The Academic Board recommended pass marks of 65 per cent for MDCAT 2021 which was approved by the Medical and Dental Council. The result of a student will be ready for delivery within half an hour after giving the exam and will be provided to the student online. The students can select all the colleges they [want to] apply for admissions and the PMC will directly send the MDCAT result of the student to the relevant colleges," he had added.