Sindh health minister rejects admission test for medical, dental colleges by PMC

Published October 3, 2021
Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said the Sindh government had already shared its reservations over the PMC multiple times to the federal government, but received no positive reply. — PPI/File
Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said the Sindh government had already shared its reservations over the PMC multiple times to the federal government, but received no positive reply. — PPI/File

KARACHI: Rejecting the results of recently held Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT), Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho on Saturday said the province had left with no option but either to hold its own tests or decrease percentage for admission to medical colleges.

She was speaking to reporters in the committee room of the Sindh Assembly. Sindh Information and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani and Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah also accompanied her.

Sharing her reservations over the test held by the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) across Pakistan, the minister said students across the country were protesting against the poorly organised exams.

“The test was marred by irregularities and we have received numerous complaints. The papers had several questions from the curriculum of the federal board, among other issues,” she said, adding that the syllabus in Sindh was a bit different from Punjab’s and that Sindh’s students were being deliberately ignored.

The Sindh government, she said, had already shared its reservations over the PMC multiple times to the federal government, but received no positive reply. The commission was formed without taking the provinces into confidence and its bill was passed in a joint sitting of the parliament by bulldozing the opposition parties.

“We are left with only two options; either we take our own medical tests or decrease the percentage for seats in Sindh. If we give admission to students from other provinces, we will deprive our students of getting medical education,” she said.

Students from other provinces, she argued, would return to their home provinces after completing education that would aggravate doctors’ shortage in the province.

The minister also criticised setting 65 per cent as passing marks given the fact that the academic session was greatly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Provinces under the 18th Amendment, she said, had the right to legislate on medical admission tests and other matters.

Students in several cities have been protesting against the MDCAT. The exams held online were allegedly riddled with administrative problems.

They said the software and hardware used by the PMC for the exams had malfunctioned and servers hosting the exams were frequently down and that students were not given the right to complain or get their papers reassessed or scrutinised.

The Sindh Assembly early this year had unanimously rejected the MDCAT and asked the provincial government to approach the centre to “take back” the test.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2021

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