- Punjab govt aiming at ending entry test for admission in medical institutions
- YDA, other govt officials say Punjab govt’s recommendation to end medical entry test is tantamount to ‘killing merit’, ‘trespassing into federal powers’
- HED secy says Punjab can make its own decision after 18th Amendment, proposal will be finalised after thorough scrutiny
Compromising the uniformity of standards in medical education, the Punjab government has allegedly acted “beyond its domain” against a federal institution’s guidelines by forming a committee to end entry test for admissions in medical colleges.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has constituted Examination and Admission Reforms Committee which has recommended ending entry test after intermediate examination for admission in medical colleges and other professional institutions. The chief minister, after holding “public parley” about entry test, will give a final decision in this regard.
As per a government’s spokesperson, the meeting was chaired by Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan in which majority of the participants were of the view that male and female students belonging to urban and rural areas of the province should be provided level playing field for getting admission in professional colleges and universities.
Addressing the meeting, Mashhood said that 20 years ago, when entry test was introduced, “booti mafia” was very active in various educational boards of the province and the performance of educational boards was a big question mark. However, during the last six years, the Punjab government has taken “effective steps”, as a result of which eight educational boards of the province have been made much transparent.
However, Law Department officials said that the decision will now move from the Higher Education Department (HED) to the Health Department and will end up at the Law Department for vetting before finally arriving at the chief minister’s for approval.
“The government acted beyond its ambit by formulating a committee on something which is under the purview of the federal government. The PMDC already exists and it has clearly laid out rules that entry tests should be held before examinations in all provinces. If one province moves out of the league, there will be no uniformity of standards in the medical education,” the official added.
The head of a medical institution, on anonymity, told this scribe that it is a move to “kill merit” in the province. The minister might claim of having bringing all educational boards at par with the standards of transparency however, it is far from truth, he claimed.
“In recent years, the heads of various boards have been sacked for various glitches in the online system which caused a lot of trouble to the students and parents and caused embarrassment for the government. Also there is no way to check if the so called ‘booti mafia’ has ended which will definitely crop up once the old system is revived,” the head added.
Young Doctors’ Association (YDA)’s Dr Salman Kazmi commented on the issue saying that in the developed and the developing world including the US, India and UK, the entry test is mandatory.
“We have also started a poll on our facebook page and 90 percent of people have opposed the move. The merits and demerits of having an entry test system are besides the point here, because a provincial government committee cannot possibly rule on something directly under the federal ambit. The procedures have been violated and I am sure the Law Department will raise this point too,” Kazmi added.
However, HED Secretary Abdullah Sumbal said that the government has just taken a first step in reviewing something which was “initiated by itself”.
“There is no harm reviewing things from time to time for betterment.”
To a question, Sumbal said that Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) was invited but its officials did not participate in the meeting despite the importance of the matter.
“After the 18th Amendment the provinces have full right to make their own decisions,” he said, adding that it will pass through two more stages at least before reaching the CM for approval.