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LAHORE, Dec 12: As many as 3,620 ‘top merit students’ who could not get admissions to MBBS and BDS for 2012-13 session due to a meagre difference in aggregate score, even failed to make it to their second favourite choice -- biomedical sciences -- owing to ‘lack of coordination’ among the respective institutions.

It is said to be the highest number of brilliant students so far who missed an opportunity for getting admissions to public and private medical colleges as well as other state-run medical and general institutions for undergraduate courses at the same time.

A senior official said hopes of top merit students were shattered when they found all private and state-run institutions offering graduate level courses in all disciplines of medical and health sciences had completed admission process two months before the UHS displayed final merit list on Nov 26.

He said a majority of the ‘dropped’ students had secured aggregate score ranging between 82.19 per cent (last year’s final merit) and 84.36 per cent (this year’s last merit).

The merit has been calculated as per the ‘weightage formula’ of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), adding 10 per cent of matriculation, 40 per cent of intermediate and 50 per cent of entrance test marks.

The official said this year only those candidates who secured 80 per cent or above aggregate marks as per PMDC formula were held eligible to apply for admission on open merit basis.

So, there was a tough competition among the brilliant students of the largest province. Resultantly, he said, this year’s merit increased by 2.16 per cent and the number of ‘top merit deprived students’ shot up unexpectedly, he said.

The official said the students had to pay heavy cost of ‘lack of coordination’ among the institutions offering MBBS/BDS and other undergraduate courses.

The medical institutions including KEMU, AIMC and other colleges affiliated to the University of Health Sciences offered around 20 undergraduate courses which were said to be the most suitable second option for the students willing to continue with medical profession at any cost.

The important courses included five-year course in doctor of pharmacy (Pharm D), doctor of physical therapy (DPT), BSc nursing generic, BSc (Hons) biotechnology, BSc (Hons), medical imaging technology, BSc (Hons) medical laboratory technology, BSc optometry & orthoptics, BSc (Hons) emergency & intensive care technology, BSc (Hons.) orthotics & prosthetic, BSc (Hons) audiology, BSc (Hons) operation theatre technology, BSc (Hons) dental technology, BSc (Hons) dental hygiene, BSc (Hons) cardiac perfusion, BSc (Hons) occupational therapy, BSc (Hons) speech & language pathology, BSc (Hons) respiratory therapy, BSc medical imaging technology, BSc medical laboratory technology etc.

“Unfortunately the difference in schedule for conducting admissions to MBBS/BDS (first choice of students) and around 20 other undergraduate courses (second choice) was the major factor in ‘drop rate’ of top merit students in all categories of admissions,” UHS spokesman Muhammad Atif told Dawn.

He said according to the rules and policy, the private medical and dental colleges as well as other state-run institutions should start admissions after display of merit list by the UHS.

He said a total of 36,100 candidates appeared in the entrance test this year as compared to 32,000 last year, which was another reason for increase in merit.

Out of these, 6,737 eligible candidates applied for admission against 3,117 open merit (2,942 MBBS + 175 BDS) seats available in 16 public sector medical and three dental colleges of the province.