Delay likely in admissions to public medical colleges, universities

Lahore:November 14:Admissions to public medical colleges and universities may be delayed because the Sindh Health Department is yet to finalise the institution that would conduct the prerequisite entry test. On Saturday the health department had cancelled the October 22 entry test conducted by the National Testing Service (NTS) on allegations of question paper leak and other anomalies, announcing that the test would be retaken within 15 days. However, Health Secretary Dr Fazlullah Pechuho told The News on Monday that so far no decision was taken about conducting a fresh entry test. “The health department is considering various options, including the IBA Sukkur, the Pakistan Testing Service and the Higher Education Commission (HEC).” Pechuho ruled out the possibility of asking the NTS to hold the entry test again, saying that due to their inefficiency and lack of professionalism, the health department had to face immense problems and now it was under tremendous pressure to hold the test. He said the option of the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) was also on the cards, adding that DUHS Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Saeed Quraishy was asked to draw up a proposal and inform the health department on the possibility of conducting the test. He clarified that the students taking the entry test again would not have to pay any fee, and that only those students who took the previous test would be allowed to retake it. He hoped that the health department would be able to find a solution within 15 days. On the other hand, Dr Quraishy ruled out the possibility of the DUHS conducting the entry test, saying that the university did not have the resources or logistics to accommodate 22,000 students. “We are mulling over other available options to ensure that the entry test is held in a smooth and non-controversial manner. But it may take longer than 15 days.” He refused to name any testing service that the health department or the DUHS might approach for conducting the entry test, saying that other eminent academicians and vice chancellors would also be taken into confidence in the matter. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) said it was deeply concerned over the process of entry test, adding that the PMA believed that it had lost its repute all over Pakistan, and termed it a “source of corruption for minting money”. PMA General Secretary Dr Qaiser Sajjad demanded that entry tests be immediately banned across the country, saying that instead of conducting entry tests, the higher secondary school certificate examination system should be improved and made foolproof.The news.

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