ISLAMABAD-The Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) officials on Wednesday said that requests for lowering the MDCAT merit from 60 per cent to 50 per cent is untenable while the body has rectified the errors occurred in the test.

Addressing the press briefing, PMC President Dr. Arshad Taqi and Vice President Ali Raza said that it was decided that Dr. Arshad Taqi would personally recheck papers as a sample to give students confidence in the results and procedures.

PMC officials said that following the MDCAT result reconciliation, which rectified issues such as certain MDCAT applicants being marked absent, with others having mismatched names and roll numbers, there was a group of 15 students who visited the PMC Head Office to discuss their dissatisfaction with the situation at hand.

They said that on 22nd December, Dr. Arshad Taqi personally rechecked the papers, and inspected the OMR machines designed to check the bubble sheets. He found no discrepancies in the marks obtained by this contingent of students. In fact, there was one particular student among the 15 who visited the PMC Head Office who had erroneously entered their ‘code’ on their bubble sheet, leading them to being marked absent.

PMC officials also added that it should be noted that the OMR machines scan the bubble sheets, and check for marks made by students in the designated spaces. In all unique columns, there can never be more than one input. This is where the problem arose, as some students had mistakenly made multiple marks in necessary columns designated to ascertain their grouping or ‘code.’ This ‘code,’ or grouping, is necessary because the machine looks up the applicants’ answers with the corresponding computerised answer key. To reiterate, all those applicants who had previously been marked absent due to erroneous information entry had their papers manually checked and marked thereafter.

A statement issued by PMC said that after thorough checking and rechecking of the 15 students’ answer sheets with their corresponding answer keys, their marks were equated out of 186 (excluding the 14 questions deemed ‘out of syllabus’) and out of 200 (with 14 marks added). It was found that their results were valid and true. 

It said that PMC has been receiving messages and requests to lower the MDCAT merit from 60 per cent to 50 per cent. This is untenable. When we took the responsibility to become the Health Education Regulator of Pakistan, our foremost priority was to ensure nothing supersedes merit in college admissions processes. If, say, the merit is lowered, the futures of students who do meet the merit prerequisites but are not as affluent as others would be jeopardized. 

Being true to our mandate of transparency and upholding our tenets of meritocracy, we cannot venture back to the draconian ways of the past. The total number of seats for college admissions in MBBS and BDS across Pakistan is 19,120. A total of 67,937 students have qualified the MDCAT on the minimum requirement of a 60 per cent score in the examination. It is quite evident that priority needs to be given on the basis of merit and nothing else.

To further accommodate medical and dental college applicants, especially given the special circumstances presented due to the COVID-19 pandemic on examinations worldwide, the council will accommodate A-Level results of the October/November 2020 session which are to be announced on 11th January 2021. Given the timeframe required by the IBCC to process A-Level equivalences, the council has amended the admission scheduled dates as contained in the Admission Regulations (amended) 2020-2021 in the manner that closure of applications for private colleges: 19th January 2021, closure of admission in public colleges: 22nd January 2021,  and announcement of merit list of private college: 24th January 2021.