The controversy surrounding the recently-concluded entrance test for the medical and dental colleges in the country is growing every passing day.
The Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) had conducted the first MDCAT 2020 on 29 November and a special retake on 13 December for candidates who had contracted the coronavirus and had been unable to take the first one.
However, many candidates are displeased with the entire process. They have alleged that the test and its results had considerable discrepancies, and have staged protests in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Hyderabad, and other cities.
The government of Sindh has been backing the protests and has sought the federal government’s permission to hold a separate entrance test for its local medical and dental colleges.
Several students have also filed lawsuits against the inclusion of out-of-syllabus and ambiguous multiple choice questions (MCQs) in the test, erroneous marking, and the inaccurate data of the candidates.
Candidate Abdul Hadi has petitioned the Sindh High Court (SHC) for it to order the PMC to make the keys of all the A, B, C, and D test patterns, and other keys and papers open for public access. He has demanded the 14 ambiguous MCQs to be made public and for a rechecking of all the tests. The candidate has also demanded that a report of the FIA’s inquiry into the alleged leaking of the MDCAT examination paper be made public.
Additionally, Candidate Osama Fayaz has petitioned for a transparent rechecking of the tests and the keys for all the code papers, and has argued that talented candidates should not be denied the right to medical and dental education.
His statement read: “Please recheck the test with transparency. We want keys of every code paper”
Another candidate by the name of Bilal Yousafzai has sought legal clarification for why the MDCAT question paper and official keys had not been uploaded on its website.
The civil rights activist and lawyer, Mohammad Jibran Nasir, is backing the candidates’ demands and is contesting their cases in the SHC.
Nasir stated that the PMC had deleted 14 MDCAT questions after admitting that they had been ambiguous.
“Those [ambiguous] questions were seven percent of the test. Also, for candidates based in Sindh, at least 18 questions were out of the syllabus. That is another nine percent of the test. This shows incompetence and shameful conduct of PMC’s Academic Board of not applying their mind at all,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, the PMC Vice-President, Ali Raza, has rejected the allegation of the incorrect marking of some MDCAT questions. He declared that all the tests had been marked correctly and all the candidates had been awarded grace marks.
He also clarified that a technical error in the system had caused the records had shown certain candidates as ‘absent’ but that it had been resolved promptly, and maintained that there had been no human involvement in the checking of the tests.