PESHAWAR/LAHORE: After unearthing a “cheating racket” and “massive irregularities”, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caretaker government has decided to re-conduct the Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT).
Separately, the caretaker Punjab government has revised the medical college admission policy for 2023 and allowed the University of Health Sciences (UHS) to make centralised admissions to public and private medical and dental colleges.
The KP cabinet decided to retake the exam during a meeting on Thursday, chaired by caretaker Chief Minister Muhammad Azam Khan.
The test will be conducted within six weeks by Khyber Medical University, and not by Educational Testing and Evaluation Agency, the provincial testing body.
Punjab revises admission policy, shuns extra marks for Hafiz-i-Quran
Briefing the media after the meeting, caretaker Information Minister Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhel said the cabinet had cancelled the test conducted on September 10.
He added that a committee would be formed for recommendations on how to thwart cheating during exams.
According to the minister, over 280 candidates, besides the alleged ringleader of the cheating racket and his brother, have been arrested.
Apart from the arrested candidates, their parents should also be questioned over their children’s involvement in the illegal act, said Mr Kakakhel.
The entrance exam for medical colleges conducted in KP earlier this month stirred a massive controversy after it was revealed that students were using gadgets like GSM pens equipped with microphones to cheat.
Following the revelation and claims of irregularities, around 85 petitions were filed by candidates in the Peshawar High Court. Police on Friday claimed to have arrested seven people for “facilitating” cheating in the Sep 10 MDCAT.
So far, the provincial police claimed to have arrested 74 candidates, including men and women, while 19 cases have been registered at eight police stations in Peshawar.
Last week, the police claimed the arrest of Zafar Khattak, the alleged mastermind of the cheating racket, and six others, all of whom were running “a centralised system” to help students cheat.
Punjab revamps policy
In its revamped admission policy, officially notified on Thursday, the Punjab government has abolished the scheme of granting 20 additional marks to students who had memorised the Holy Quran.
The Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education department has issued a notification of the new policy following approval from the cabinet.
Under this policy, the UHS will be the authority to conduct admissions for both public and private medical and dental institutions across Punjab.
As per the outlined admission policy, the merit criteria will include a 50 per cent weightage of scores obtained in the MDCAT, 40pc of FSc results and 10pc of matriculation marks.
For MBBS admissions, candidates must score at least 55pc in MDCAT, while dental college applicants must achieve a minimum of 50pc marks.
Importantly, the policy clarifies that MDCAT results from the previous year will not be considered for admission in 2023.
The policy also covers the admission of overseas Pakistanis and foreign candidates. They must possess equivalent educational qualifications, with at least 60pc marks earned outside Pakistan.
Students seeking admission to public and private colleges will have to submit applications through the UHS online admission portal.
The policy also allows applicants to modify their college choices in admission forms before the submission deadline. The processing fee for the admission form is set at Rs2,000.
As per the policy, admissions in government medical colleges must conclude by December 31, whereas private college admissions will be finalised by January 31.
Similarly, government dental colleges will wrap up admissions by February 15 and private dental colleges by February 28. The classes in medical colleges will commence on February 1, and those in dental colleges on March 1.
As per the new policy, admissions to government medical colleges in Punjab will be contingent upon the domicile. A the Provincial Admission Committee will oversee the entire process. It will be chaired by the UHS vice-chancellor and include the vice-chancellors of all medical universities in Punjab and a health department representative as members.
Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2023