The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has accused the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) of favoring one particular bidder in its new tender document for the hiring of a testing company for the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT).
In a statement on Sunday, the medical fraternity’s representative body criticized PMC’s ‘tailor-made’ tender for the hiring of the testing company and said that the process should involve all stakeholders.
The association also suggested that the MDCAT exam fee should be kept between Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 as most of the students taking the test belong to poor families and cannot afford hefty entrance fees.
Last month, the PMC had canceled the 10-year joint venture contract with SOAR Testing and Evaluation Platform (SMC-private) Limited, the company that recently conducted the MDCAT 2021 for over 200,000 students across the country.
The company had faced severe criticism as it was registered with the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) after the deadline of filing bids in May this year. It was also alleged that the company, SOAR, did not have its own National Tax Number (NTN) and used another company’s NTN to get the contract.
On 30th November, the commission invited bids for procurement of computer-based examination service in a new advertisement. The latest advertisement mentioned that the bidders should have NTN and Sales Tax Number and should be on the active taxpayer’s list of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
According to the tender document, the bidders should achieve a 70 percent score in technical evaluation to get the contract. Any bidder who scores less than 50 percent in any of the six categories mentioned in the document will be disqualified.
One of the conditions is that the companies submitting the bids should have previously conducted the computer-based exams at more than 20 locations locally and over five locations internationally within a period of 30 days.
Only two marks would be awarded to companies who have conducted online tests of up to 10,000 and 15 marks to those who have experience of conducting computer-based exams of less than 150,000 students.
However, PMA Punjab President, Col (retd) Dr. Ghulam Shabir, believes that the new tender document is ‘tailor-made’ to benefit one particular firm.
While talking to Dawn.com, Dr. Ghulam said that TEPS was the only eligible company under the given conditions.
“Last year, PMC uploaded on its website that in Pakistan there was no company which had the experience of holding such a test and that was why an agreement was made with a company. Now, it has prepared a tailor-msade tender to award the contract to TEPS, because no other company comes close to the criteria set by PMC,” he alleged.