Thousands of Foreign Medical Graduates Apply for the National Registration Exam

At least 2,000 foreign medical graduates have applied for the National Registration Exam (NRE), which will be conducted in two phases in June and July, with the registration deadline ending today.

Dr. Imdad Khushk, Registrar of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), stated, “With just one day left, as many as 2,000 foreign medical graduates have applied for the National Registration Exam, which begins on June 2 this year.”

He made these remarks at an E-Kutchery on Monday. Under the PMDC Act, two NRE sessions will be held each year, and the council has proposed dates for these sessions. Dr. Imdad encouraged medical graduates to apply for the NRE to accommodate as many candidates as possible.

“Applicants will receive a response from the council within a few days and will be informed of any deficiencies in their applications. Step I of the NRE will be held on June 2, and Step II will take place on July 21-22. If candidates cannot be accommodated on these dates, their exams will be scheduled for July 28-29,” he said.

Two exam sessions will be held in June-July and November-December each year.

Regarding the second session of the NRE, Step I is scheduled for November 24, and Step II will be on December 28-29. If the number of candidates exceeds the limit, they will be accommodated in the first week of January next year.

Dr. Imdad also mentioned that preparations are underway for the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT), with the exam date to be announced later.

It is worth noting that the NRE syllabus was approved on April 30, 2024. One session of the NRE was held in 2023, but in 2022, at least three sessions of the exam then called the National Licensing Exam (NLE), were conducted under the defunct Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC).

Meanwhile, discussing a calling attention notice moved by PTI lawmakers, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, announced that two sessions of the exam would be held this year, starting on June 2. The passing percentage for the exam has been reduced from 70% to 60%.

The government cannot lower the passing marks to 50% to maintain the quality of medical education, he said in response to some lawmakers’ demands.

“There are precedents where doctors did not go overseas but completed their MBBS abroad,” he claimed.

According to the law minister, in the previous exam, the passing marks were set at 70%, but no candidates were able to pass. Consequently, the decision was made to reduce the passing marks to 60%, and the exam structure was also revised. The exams will be administered by the National University of Medical Sciences. The notice was moved by PTI lawmakers Zartaj Gul, Shahid Ahmed, Shabbir Qureshi, Amjad Ali Khan, and Jamshed Dasti (who skipped the proceedings).

PPP leader and former health minister Qadir Patel, speaking on a point of order, supported PTI’s demand, suggesting that the passing marks for medical colleges should be 50-55% and 45% for dental colleges. He also demanded the reversal of the caretaker government’s decision to ban new private medical colleges, as it was beyond their mandate.

Last year, at least 10,000 medical and dental students in Pakistan who graduated from local medical colleges were exempted from the National Licensing Exam, a test made mandatory by the defunct Pakistan Medical Commission in 2020.



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