The Pakistan Medical Council (PMC) has postponed the Medical and Dental Colleges Admissions Test (MDCAT) for an indefinite period in view of the evolving flood devastation in the country.
The decision came a day after the newly-constituted council issued the revised schedule for the MDCAT across the country.
Announcing the decision at a press conference on Wednesday, Federal Minister for National Health Services (NHS) Abdul Qadir Patel said electricity and internet connections remained severed in several parts of the country, preventing a large number of students to register themselves on the relevant online portal for the test.
However, the students who could not apply for the test can now register themselves through the requisite portal and provinces will conduct the MDCAT examination under their domain. The portal will remain open for two weeks for such students.
Read more: PMC issues MDCAT test schedule
“Currently, the country is badly affected due to floods, provinces and the federation are busy helping their citizens as over 1300 people have lost their lives and millions of people have been displaced,” he lamented.
Abdul Qadir Patel said the minimum required percentage to apply for admissions to MBBS has also been decreased from 65 to 55 per cent marks and the requirements for BDS admission have been decreased from 55 to 45 per cent marks to discourage the tendency of getting admissions abroad.
Nearly, 16,000 students were studying in foreign medical colleges, draining out Rs50 billion annually, the minister added.
The minister said this policy can also be reviewed if a seat remains unfilled. He said around 16,000 Pakistani students are studying abroad, draining out 50 billion rupees. He said we are committed to facilitating our children.
He said the council has also decided to review National Licensing Examination (NLE) for Pakistani graduates. However, this exam would continue for foreigners.
He explained that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had recently constituted a search committee comprising seven members for the task of appointing members to the Medical and Dental Council and the National Medical and Dental Academic Board of the Pakistan Medical Commission.
The committee invited applications from candidates fulfilling the prerequisites through advertisements and followed the necessary process for appointing them as members.
“Around 100 highly qualified experts applied and the process was completed, the list of those with high numbers was sent to the prime minister, and he approved it.”
The minister said it was also decided that all the PMC employees, whose services were terminated forcibly, will be reinstated, adding that the decision was taken unanimously.
It may be recalled here that the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services had earlier called for deferring the MDCAT examination for at least two months in the wake of recent floods.
Committee Chairman Senator Dr Muhammad Humayun also maintained that the MDCAT exams should also be conducted as per the PMDC bill, which is yet to become an act.
Earlier, the senate body approved the amendment bill to restore the defunct Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) by abolishing the PMC. The committee chairman said that since the bill was to be passed eventually, “we support the government in the larger interest of the students.”
(With Inputs from APP)