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 LAHORE, May 28: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council’s decision of abolishing the “pass/fail” criterion in the entrance test has proved a boon for the private medical and dental colleges and some of these institutions have admitted students scoring below 30 per cent marks in the test.

It was shocking for the University of Health Sciences (UHS) officials when they found 45 such admissions at 10 private medical and dental colleges for the session 2010-11 during verification of the documents.

The private medical colleges had dispatched cases of these students to the UHS for registration who had obtained below 30 per cent marks in the entrance tests conducted by the UHS in July 2010, according to documents obtained by Dawn.

Admissions were made by the private institutions after the PMDC Regulations 2010 introduced minor changes in the criteria, saying: “The pattern of the paper of the entry test shall be determined and announced by the Provincial Central Admission Authority. There shall not be any pass marks for the entry test and all marks obtained shall be declared.”

The UHS Admission Board had expressed its strong reservations to the changes through a letter to the PMDC on April 2011 and demanded review of its decision, warning that it may adversely affect the medical education standards in the country.

The Board also recommended increase in pass percentage from 40 per cent to 60 per cent.

The Council, however, rejected the UHS apprehensions through a letter dated June 2011, categorically saying, “No change in the existing law is warranted and the entry test shall continue to be held without pass or fail (criterion) and marks obtained in the entry test shall be used to determine merit.”

Since entrance test for admission to medical and dental colleges was introduced in 1998, 40 per cent marks were set as minimum criterion for the candidates out of total 1100 marks for admission to public and private colleges. This continued till 2009 and finally the PMDC Regulations 2010 abolished the condition.

Commenting on the admissions of these 45 students, some critics termed it a from of corruption while many others were of the view that the medical education standards in the country would further deteriorate if the trend continued.

The documents, a copy of which is available with Dawn, said Lahore Medical and Dental College (LMDC) made admissions of nine students who obtained 233, 241, 279, 286, 299, 172, 261, 286, 289 marks, respectively, in the entrance tests. The total entrance tests marks were 1100.

Similarly, University Medical College Faisalabad admitted nine students who got 250, 295, 182, 225, 254, 262, 280 and 283 marks, respectively, in the entrance test.

Rashid Latif Medical College, Lahore admitted two students who secured 286 and 295 marks, Central Park Medical College Lahore and Wah Medical College, Wah, admitted one student each with 236 and 260 marks, respectively.Another private medical college, Independent Medical College Faisalabad, admitted six students who got 173, 242, 243, 257, 268 and 289 marks, respectively.

Avicenna Medical College Lahore admitted five students who got 205, 208, 219, 232 and 297 marks respectively, Akthar Saeed Medical College Lahore admitted four students who obtained 214, 230, 260, and 278 marks in the entrance tests, respectively, while Islam Medical College Sialkot admitted eight who secured 232, 250, 259, 282, 286, 287, 297 and 297 marks in the entrance tests.

The statistics showed that students who got admissions to public sector medical colleges of the province had higher marks.

According to the documents, the merit for King Edward Medical University (KEMU) Lahore remained 87.20 per cent while last merit for Allama Iqbal Medical College (AIMC), Lahore, remained 85.47 per cent.

Similarly, the last admission merit of the Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) Lahore was 84.09 per cent, of Fatima Jinnah Medical College (FJCM) Lahore 83.91 per cent, Nishtar Medical College (NMC) Multan 83.62 per cent, Punjab Medical College (PMC) Faisalabad 83.10 per cent, Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) Rawalpindi 83.01 per cent, Quaid-e-Azam Medical College (QMC) Bahawalpur 82.59 per cent, Sargodha Medical College (SMC) Sargodha 82.49 per cent, Nawaz Sharif Medical College (NSMC) Gujrat 82.31 per cent, Sheikh Zayed Medical College (SZMC) Rahimyar Khan 82.16 per cent, Gujranwala Medical College 82.05 per cent, de'Montmorancy College of Dentistry (DCD) Lahore 81.76 per cent, Nishtar Institute of Dentistry (NID) Multan 81.67 per cent, Dental Section Punjab Medical College (DSPMC) Faisalabad 81.62 per cent, Sahiwal Medical College 81.95 per cent, Sialkot Medical College 81.83 per cent and last merit for D.G. Khan Medical College remained 81.77 per cent.

A total of 30,026 candidates had appeared in the entrance test held on July 20, 2010 out of which 8,524 scored 60 per cent and above marks. As many as 5,390 scored 50 to 59 per cent marks whereas 5,743 got 40 to 49 per cent marks. A total of 10,369 candidates scored less than 40 per cent marks.

PMDC Registrar Dr Ahmad Nadeem Akbar said the admissions of medical students having less than 30 per cent marks in entrance tests was highly regrettable and the Council would not spare the institutions involved.

He said the PMDC had taken several steps to improve the education standard in the country and such malpractices by private institutions would not be tolerated.

Dr Akbar said he would take up the issue with the Council to stop such admissions in future.

“I think minimum 40 per cent marks should be declared mandatory for a student in entrance test to become eligible for admissions to public or private sector medical and dental institutions”, he said.