ISLAMABAD: Dozens of candidates of Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT), who appeared in the test under the University of Health Sciences (UHS), on Thursday gathered outside the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) and held a protest demanding that they should be given separate seats for admissions considering the difficulty level of the test.
The students and their parents also had a meeting with PMC Vice President Dr Khursheed Ahmad Nasim, who suggested to them to contact the UHS directly. He gave an assurance that the PMC will also take up the matter with the UHS.
MDCAT was held on November 13 in which 203,791 candidates appeared across Pakistan and 462 others abroad. In Punjab, 83,142 candidates, in Sindh 43,994, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) 46,229, Balochistan 9,238, Gilgit-Baltistan 645, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) 2,718, Islamabad 17,825, Saudi Arabia (KSA) 222 and United Arab Emirates (UAE) 240 candidates appeared in the entry test.
Talking to Dawn outside the PMC, one of the candidates, Syed Bilal, said this year candidates were allowed to appear in the test at any centre across the country irrespective of their domiciles. The domiciles will be considered at the time of admissions.
“I have the domicile of Islamabad and am eligible to get admission in the affiliated colleges of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU). But as I was in Lahore, I appeared in the entry test conducted by the UHS there. However, the difficulty levels of the test conducted by the two universities was different as the results showed that 93pc candidates had cleared MDCAT conducted by SZABMU and only 53pc of students who sat the test held by the UHS.”
He said later PMC decided that 20 grace marks would be awarded to the candidates.
“Although marks were awarded to students, same marks were awarded to candidates of all universities. We demand that there should be separate formula for the candidates of UHS and they should get special seats in colleges affiliated with SZABMU or in Islamabad,” he said.
Mr Bilal, who was accompanied by Hashir Haider, Hafsa Fatima and others, said after two hours of protest the management of PMC invited the protesters for a meeting.
“Two parents and four candidates, including me, had a meeting with Dr Khursheed Ahmad Nasim and requested him to address our issue. However, the VP told us that we should directly contact UHS and PMC will also take up the matter with the university,” he said.
Mr Bilal said a few days ago they had also held a protest outside UHS and informed its management that the difficulty level of the university’s test was much higher than that of SZABMU.
“Representatives of the university agreed that the difficulty level of nine multiple choice questions (MCQs) was very high and sought time for a reply. However, we have not got feedback till date,” he said.
“I got 171 marks out of the total of 200 but students having almost same calibre/ability who appeared in the test conducted by SZABMU scored around 190 points. Now we have been left with no option but to have separate seats in medical and dental colleges of Islamabad because otherwise we will not be able to get admission,” he said.
After the over two-hour-long protest facilitated by Mustafavi Students Movement, the candidates dispersed peacefully.
Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2022
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