KARACHI, Nov 11: More than 2,000 candidates took entry tests for the 80 seats — 50 MBBS seats and 30 BDS seats — of the Karachi Medical and Dental College at the city campus of the Institute of Business Administration on Sunday amid confusion and shoddy arrangements made by the test-giving organization.

A visit to the IBA city campus by this reporter on Sunday afternoon showed that not only all the three tests — two for MBBS and one for BDS — had begun late (over an hour later than the appointed time) but the IBA had not made any seating arrangements for the parents who had accompanied their children to the examination centre.

Since a large number of students took entry tests for both MBBS and BDS, they, as well as their accompanying parents, had been greatly inconvenienced by the fact that the IBA had given both the tests on the same date, thus compelling students to take two tests in one day in a space of a few hours. Previously the IBA had announced Nov 9 as the entry test date of BDS, but due to the Iqbal Day holiday — and probably because of the strike called by the Pakistan-Afghan Defence Council — the IBA decided to give both the tests for MBBS and BDS on Nov 11.

Standing at the IBA city campus gate in front of the Orthopaedic Medical Institute, a large number of students questioned the wisdom of giving three tests on one day. Sania Ahmed of Sir Syed Ahmed College told Dawn that she had come to the examination centre around 8.30pm. “The test was supposed to begin at 9pm. We twiddled our thumbs as we waited on and on, and the test wouldn’t start.”

Aslam Khan, an elderly parent of a girl candidate, said it was common knowledge that more girls took up medical field as their profession. “Girls do not normally go to the examination centre alone but are accompanied by their parents. I have been standing in the sun for the past one and a half hour with my daughter because the IBA has made no seating arrangement for us.”

This reporter saw that there was an ugly traffic jam on Daud Pota Road because apart from a lane in front of the OMI, at least four lanes before the IBA city campus had been occupied by cars, making it extremely difficult for buses — large buses such as 2D, 20, 19-D, SPTC buses — to reach the Coast Guard Office before getting on Garden Road.

Hamida Bibi, who was sitting on a pavement saying the rosary, said that earlier a girl had nearly fainted because of the heat. “If the IBA city campus is not large enough to accommodate all the students at a time, the test-giving body could have held the test at its Karachi University campus. What is the point in making the students go through this ordeal of taking two tests in one day?”

Noman Ahmed of Govt Delhi Boys College told Dawn that he had taken the BDS test in the morning. “Because I live in Federal B. Area, which is very far from the IBA city campus, I went to a roadside restaurant to while away the time. Now I am extremely tired and do not feel up to taking another test. But I know that I should because my future hinges on the outcome of this test.”

As the girls could not kill the leisurely hours in a roadside restaurant in Saddar, they kept standing in front of the gate in the sun.

An irate student told Dawn that the IBA security guards had been extremely ill-disposed, particularly towards girls. “My BDS test was supposed to begin at 9.50am. It started at 10.30am and ended at 11.30am. Since most of us had to take another test a little later, it would have been proper if the authorities had allowed us to remain on the premises. But they turned everyone out in a most impolite manner. Similarly, parents sitting in the auditorium were not allowed to go outside. The last paper was obviously leaked by somebody from the IBA. Why were they taking it on the poor students?” she said.

When asked what had caused delays in the start of tests, she said it was beyond her comprehension why the IBA authorities had taken upon themselves the task of reading out the 18 instructions written on the question paper. “A lot of time was wasted when the IBA officials read out all the instructions. Can’t the students, who are taking tests in English, read and understand the instructions?”

She also pointed out that there were separate answer sheets in addition to question papers. “Because those were loose answer sheets their likelihood of getting misplaced was high,” she said.

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