PESHAWAR: The provincial caretaker government has made elaborate arrangements to re-conduct Medical and Dental College Admission Test in seven districts of the province on November 26.
Section 144 will be imposed around the centres, mobile phone will remain jammed and examination material will be transported from Khyber Medical University to the examination halls under police security, according to a plan devised by the government.
The test, conducted by Educational Testing and Evaluation Agency (Etea) on September 10, triggered a major controversy as more than 280 candidates were arrested for using modern electronic gadgets for cheating and alleged use of unfair means.
On September 28, the provincial cabinet cancelled MDCAT and asked Khyber Medical University (KMU) to hold the test again. Peshawar High Court upheld the cabinet’s decision in response to petitions filed by more than 280 students.
Sources said that KMU had vast experience of conducting entrance tests for its various courses in which thousands of students appeared but the conduct of MDCAT became a challenge for the provincial government as senior officials wanted foolproof arrangements to make it a transparent exercise.
“Authorities aren’t taking any chance to repeat what happened on September 10. Therefore, KMU is making every effort to ensure that security agencies, such as police and FIA, play their role along with district administration for smooth-sailing of the test,” they said.
According to them, Abid Majeed, the additional chief of secretary of home and tribal affairs department, has been tasked on the recommendation of KMU to provide security to the staff involved in transportation of test material to all centres in the designated cities, including Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat, Mardan, Dir Lower, Swat and Abbottabad. A total of 46,220 candidates will appear in test.
As per plan, police will be deployed during printing, packaging, transportation and scanning of examination material inside and outside Khyber Medical University Peshawar from 20 November to 30.
KMU vice-chancellor will indicate specific area on the premises of the university carrying out the activity.
CCPO Peshawar and AIG of special branch have been tasked to clear the staff involved in MDCAT, as per a list to be provided to them by KMU vice-chancellor.
AIG special branch squads will escort teams with examination material from KMU to examination centres and bring them back after conclusion of the test. KMU vice-chancellor will be responsible to indicate date, timings, route and destinations to police.
Installation of walk-through gates, scanners at entrance to centres and deployment of police around the Centres and similar action for roads and surrounding areas will be put in place.
In case, specific signal jammers or gadgets are not available in required number, these may be hired or acquired from other provinces for the specific period while help of FIA will be enlisted on cyber side.
The FIA director will ensure imposition of Section-144 around all centres to prevent unfair means including banning books, guides, solved papers and relevant material.
Mobile phones even with staff and police, weapons and other illegal items within 100 meters of the centres will not be allowed.
According to the plan, lady police constables will be deployed as 58 per cent candidates are female. Effective traffic management and parking arrangements will be ensured in and around the examination centres on the test day with proper signage.
Suspension of mobile phone services on specific towers around centres for duration of tests along with uninterrupted power supply from 9am to 3pm on date of test are also part of the plan.
The special branch and other intelligence agencies will keep vigil for any illegal activity being planned and report for remedial measures, including arrest of such perpetrators under preventive laws also.
Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2023