MDCAT 2020: Students continue protests in major Pakistan cities over discrepancies in entry exam

Students who appeared for the MDCAT 2020 exam are continuing to stage street protests in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Hyderabad and other cities, alleging discrepancies in the test and its results, The News reported Monday.

MDCAT 2020: Students continue protests in major Pakistan cities over discrepancies in entry exam

The controversy is raging over the recent centralised test for admission to medical and dental colleges across the country after many candidates took the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMC) to court over out-of-syllabus and ambiguous test questions, marking mistakes, and faulty candidate data.

The regulator for medical education, PMC, held the Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT 2020) on November 29 and a special test on December 13 for those who missed the first one for being down with coronavirus.

A total of 121,181 candidates attempted the centralised test in the country’s major cities and 67,611 of them qualified it by securing over 60% marks.

Sindh govt demands to conduct entry test 

Amid the criticism on the medical regulator body, the Sindh government has now also thrown its full weight behind the students, demanding permission to conduct an entry test for the local medical and dental colleges by itself.

PML-N has also submitted a resolution to the Punjab Assembly demanding rechecking of the MDCAT 2020 papers in the presence of candidates and the release of an FIA inquiry into the test irregularities.

Candidates demand rechecking of papers

Several protesting candidates demanded the rechecking of their papers, some called for the grant of passing marks to be 50% and others wanted grace marks or the MDCAT to be held again.

Candidate Abdul Hadi said the PMC should make the keys of all A, B, C, and D test patterns along with other keys and paper public, reveal the 14 ambiguous MCQs about which it claims grace marks have been granted, and recheck all papers instead of recounting after making them public.

He also demanded the release of the report of the FIA probe into the MDCAT paper leak.

Complaining that the talented aspirants shouldn’t be denied their right to medical and dental education, she said: Please recheck the test with transparency. We want keys of every code paper.

Bilal Yousafzai wondered why the PMC didn’t upload the MDCAT question paper and official keys to its website.

The protesters have also taken to social media to vent their anger against the PMC.

Human rights activist Jibran Nasir sided with the protesting students and said the PMC had deleted 14 MDCAT questions after admitting they were ambiguous.

“Those [ambiguous] questions were 7% of the test. Also, for candidates based in Sindh, at least 18 questions were out of the syllabus. That is another 9% of the test.

“This shows incompetence and shameful conduct by PMC’s academic board of not applying their mind at all,” he said in a tweet.

However, the candidates, who passed the MDCAT, declared the PMC admission exercise fair and urged the unsuccessful ones to accept the test results graciously.

PMC rejects allegations

PMC vice-president Ali Raza rejected the allegation of incorrect marking of some MDCAT questions, saying not only were all papers marked correctly but all candidates got grace marks as well. 

He also said some students were shown absent from the test due to a technical error, which was immediately fixed.

Raza said there was no human involvement in paper checking, while the PMC made 27 questions difficult to decide about the college the successful candidate is to be enrolled in.

Originally published at Geo tv