THE journey of aspiring doctors mostly begins at the age of 16 when they opt for pre-medical subjects during their matriculation or O-level. This seemingly trivial decision puts them on a path of empathy, medicine and the art of saving lives.
After five exhausting years of professional medical education, they are able to graduate from medical schools and, equipped with a provisional licence from the regulatory body — the Pakistan Medical Commission, as it stands today — they are ready to hit the wards as a house officers, hoping to get their proper degree after a year of hard work; a degree that would enable them to practise and apply for postgraduate studies.
Now imagine that after this long arduous process they have to give yet another exam. And the one that not only encompasses everything that they have already studied, but have also passed! And without which they will not be given their medical degree. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? This is exactly what the National Licensing Exam (NLE) proposes. It is a roadblock for young doctors who have already proven their mettle by successfully passing and graduating from medical schools.
I am aware of the unfortunately high number of quacks in our country, but the PMC must think of some other way to curtail their number. The NLE, based on over 200 MCQs covering five years’ worth of syllabus and an above 70 per cent passing marks, is just not fair. The PMC should reconsider and withdraw its decision at the earliest.
Dr Sumaiyya Zubairi
Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2021