MDCAT Students Being Forced To Appear For Entry Exam Despite Covid Threat
The MDCAT 2020 is scheduled to be held across the country on November 29. For the last three days, the hashtags #DelayMDCAT2020 and #ShameOnPMC have been the top trending hashtags on Pakistan Twitter. Students are raising their voice on Twitter in hopes that the government will postpone the entry exams so they won’t have to risk their lives by taking the exam in the jam packed examination halls during a pandemic.
Politicians such as Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Moonis Elahi, Khawaja Asif and journalists like Hamid Mir have called out the examination body and government for allowing the exam to take place when the decision to close all educational institutions has already been made and implemented.
On November 23, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood held a press conference and announced that the government has ordered closure of all educational institutions across the country from November 26 till January 10 next year.
However, Dr Faisal Sultan added that all the entry tests for the medical field like MDCAT and various levels of senior medical care training would be held as per schedule, while ensuring all the SOPs related to the COVID-19.
Students are scared that SOPs won’t be followed in the 198 designated centres, where minimum of 600 students per centre will be giving the exam.
On November 25, “Pakistan Medical Commission” (which is the conducting body of MDCAT) announced that a special exam would be held on December 13 for students who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Another thing that the students are worried about is that many students appearing in the test could be asymptomatic.
Arguing the fairness of MDCAT being held now, many students also believe that legally, the special exam is against Section 18 of PMC Act 2020 which states “ The Authority shall conduct annually on a date approved by the Council and as per standards approved by the Board a single admissions test which shall be a mandatory requirement for all students seeking admission to medical or dental under-graduate programs anywhere in Pakistan.”