Medical community concerned about hi-tech cheating in MDCAT

SLAMABAD: The release of the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT) results has been temporarily halted by the Peshawar High Court. Additionally, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has identified the inclusion of a few out-of-syllabus questions in this year’s test.

Dr. Rizwan Taj, President of PMDC, has directed the vice-chancellors of all public universities to review their question papers and promptly address any discrepancies found in the examination papers. He has also urged the conducting universities to take strict action and conduct inquiries against individuals involved in using unfair means during the exam.

The MDCAT examination saw participation from nearly 187,000 students in both national and foreign venues. To assess the examination process, evaluate the question paper’s difficulty level, address potential issues that may have arisen during the MDCAT exam, and ensure the exam’s fairness and integrity, President PMDC Prof Dr. Rizwan Taj conducted a post-examination analysis meeting for MDCAT 2023.

The meeting was attended by vice-chancellors from all provincial conducting universities, including the University of Health Sciences (UHS), Khyber Medical University (KMU), Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU), Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU), and Balochistan University of Medical and Health Sciences (BUMHS), followed by the examination department of PMDC.

During the meeting, concerns were raised about media reports regarding the MDCAT paper and its authenticity. The VC of KMU reported that out of 46,439 registered students, 45,640 appeared for the exam. During the exam, 219 students were caught using unfair means, and legal action has been taken against them. Prior information about cheating devices had been received from intelligence agencies.

To maintain secrecy, a courier company was hired to transport confidential examination materials to the venues. The VC of Jinnah Sindh Medical University reported that out of 40,528 registered candidates in Sindh, 98% appeared for the exam in four cities. Three cases of impersonation were detected, and FIRs were registered against the individuals involved.

The VC of BUMHS reported that 9,234 students were registered, and 97% of them appeared for the exam, with no issues or complaints reported.

The VC of University Health Sciences stated that the exam was conducted in 11 different cities and 29 centers without any problems. Out of 66,725 registered candidates, 65,226 appeared for the exam.

A representative from SZABMU revealed that over 18,000 students took the MDCAT within the country and abroad, with over 100 students lodging complaints.

Interim Minister for National Health Services Dr. Nadeem Jan held a meeting with provincial health ministers and the PMDC president.

Meanwhile, the Peshawar High Court issued an order to temporarily prevent Khyber Medical University and the Educational Testing and Evaluation Authority from publishing the MDCAT results on their official website. This decision followed approximately 23 applications filed with the high court’s Human Rights Cell by concerned students/candidates who alleged irregularities in the test.

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