PESHAWAR: The syllabus of the upcoming test has left students confused following abolition of Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) under which national merit list used to be prepared for admission to medical and dental colleges.

The government has restored Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), which will conduct tests through five public sector medical universities across the country as they did before formation of PMC, according to students.

In September 2020, the federal government enforced the PMC Act to provide for the regulation and control of the medical profession and a uniform minimum standard of basic and higher education as well as training and recognition of the qualification in medicines and dentistry.

After the passage of the law, Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) was conducted in 2020. However, the PMC Act was replaced by National Assembly in June last year and PMDC was restored.

Prof Zia says response of PMDC is awaited to clear ambiguities

PMC had introduced MDCAT syllabus for the entire country. A centralised test was conducted in 2021 but next year it was given back to the provinces. Khyber Medical University (KMU) conducted written examination through Education Testing and Evaluation Agency (Etea).

Other four admitting universities in the country also conducted MDCAT for their respective provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory.

However, confusion over the test prevails among the students as they don’t know if the syllabus will be central or provincial.

Students said that they were confused if the test would be held in accordance with PMC’s syllabus, which was for all candidates appearing in any province of the country, or it would be conducted by PMDC through provincial syllabus.

The PMC’s test was applicable to the whole country and students could get admission to any province in accordance with national merit list, they said.

According to PMDC law, the test will be provincial. The syllabus for PMC test was central. “First council, which is not in place will be constituted to take decision,” said students.

According to them, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, KMU conducts test through Etea but they have no idea whether it will be the countrywide syllabus, which will be applicable all over the country.

“Last year, it was decided that the test will be conducted according to the combined syllabus of PMC. A lot of students are contacting us about the syllabus,” KMU Vice-chancellor Prof Ziaul Haq said.

According to him, they don’t have any clear idea regarding syllabus of the test whether it will be national or provincial and they don’t know if the test will be applicable only in KP or in other provinces as well.

“It was also decided last year that test would be valid for two years. We are waiting for the PMDC’s response to clear such ambiguities,” he said.

Prof Zia said that as per PMC law, the students, who attempted MDCAT in 2012, could now apply to colleges of their choice provided they met the criteria of 65 per cent marks as per formula.

“We are in contact with t PMDC and hopefully will get clarity regarding MDCAT. The students have been advised to see the whole KP syllabus till we get clarity,” he said.

He said that 46,000 students appeared last year in the test for admission to 10 medical and five dental colleges on 1,800 seats including for open merit, self-finance, newly-merged districts, backward areas, minorities and people living with disabilities.

“All provinces will be taking the MDCAT test indefinitely and syllabus is likely to be province’s domain. However, further guidance will come from the PMDC council, which has not been announced so far,” said Prof Zia.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2023

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