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Punjab medical college admission test controversy

Medical College Admission Test for A-Level badly mismanaged
Lahore, Oct 3: The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) held on September 27 was completely out of line with the promises made by the University of Health Sciences (UHS) and was plagued by various problems, many students have alleged. Detailed interaction with various students who sat for the test has revealed many of the facts stated below. By and large, while the students appreciate the step taken by the UHS to make a separate test for A-Level students, they strongly object to inefficiencies in the execution and designing of this test.

Many questions on the test, which was supposed to be separate for non-FSc students, were not in accordance with the June 2009 CIE syllabus posted on the website (which has now been reportedly removed from the website). Many other questions contained incomplete or incorrect information. For example, many questions in the English section had all four options containing grammatical errors. One of the questions had "felled" (to fall) in all the four options.

Questions not from past papers
Lahore: Vice Chancellor (VC) Malik Mubashir had said at a seminar held at the Alhamra Arts Council on September 10 that there would not be any questions from past papers. However, the test did contain many past paper questions, most of them from the 1960s and 1970s. The A-Level syllabus is altered every 10 years, whereas small amendments are made every year. Many of the questions from past papers were out of line with the CIE syllabus. A-Level questions are prepared by experienced British examiners keeping in mind that each question is solved within 90 seconds with the help of a calculator.

However, the MCAT exam had 220 questions, to be solved in 150 minutes, leaving approximately 40 seconds for each question. Many numerical questions in the Physics section required the use of a calculator.

However, the MCAT exam had 220 questions, to be solved in 150 minutes, leaving approximately 40 seconds for each question. Many numerical questions in the Physics section required the use of a calculator.

Untrained invigilators: Another major issue was the mismanagement in the test centre by untrained invigilators. The question papers and answer sheets were colour-coded. However, the invigilators could not differentiate between different colours and handed over wrong papers to many A- Level students who were not compensated for the time wasted in being handed over the right papers. There were not more than two A-Level students in any room or examination hall, and they suffered the most at the hands of the untrained staff.

UHS staff told students that a separate centre had not been made for the non-FSc students to ensure that they did not cheat. However, a lot of cheating was reported between FSc students.

Adding to the controversy, the UHS claimed that the papers were made, checked and rechecked, and the answer key verified by 'renowned' A-Level teachers. They said these 'renowned' teachers were Prof Abdur Rehman, Prof Shamsul Haq, Prof Burhan Asad, Shazia Iqbal and Nadeem Anwar. However, strangely, none of these names are known to A-Level students. Shamsul Haq and Nadeem Anwar are FSc teachers and have authored a number of books.

The UHS VC, who made promises of full transparency and fair play, is neither answering his phone nor is he available at the UHS premises to address students' concerns. The UHS is using delaying tactics in the registration of complaints, so that the merit list can be displayed without these problems being solved.

It is believed that this year not even one percent of the 564 non-FSc students would be able to get admission to a government medical institution.

He refused to comment and said the version might be taken from UHS Public Relations Officer (PRO) Muhammad Atif. The PRO rejected all claims of mismanagement, and said the test was conducted smoothly.

Although he admitted that at least 11 complaints had been received by the UHS complaint cell, he said the number was neither here nor there when compared to the over-22,000 students who sat for the test.

He also admitted that students were given extra time in some cases, contradicting his earlier statement that there was no need for extra time.

Discrimination: When it was suggested to him that it might have been better to place FSc and A-Level students in different halls to avoid problems, he said it would have been discrimination.

When asked why the syllabus was removed from the website, Atif said it was done to resolve 'space' issues. Once told that the syllabus document would not have taken much space, he said he would recommend to the university to put it back online.

The PRO said the students were only complaining because the university had provided them a self-scoring scheme, and he was under the impression that the students who feared failure were the ones accusing the UHS of malpractices.

Students' allegations:

Many questions on test out of line with syllabus posted on UHS website

Questions from past papers included despite promise to the contrary

Untrained invigilators did not understand colour coding of papers

None of the 'renowned' teachers involved in making papers known to A-Level students

UHS VC neither answering phone nor available on campus

UHS version:

Syllabus removed from website to save space

Only 11 complaints received, which is neither here nor there out of 22,000 students

Separate halls for A-Level and FSc students would have been discrimination

Only students who fear failure after comparing answers with self-assessment scheme complaining

Names top A-Level teachers who validated test are a secret.

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Name: sonia
City, Country: Faisalabad, Pakistan

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Three students injured in KC as ceiling fan falls
Lahore: Three FSc (Pre-medical) students in Kinnaird College (KC) were injured when a ceiling fan fell on them, a private TV channel reported on Friday. According to the channel, three students, including Quratul Ain, who sustained severe head injuries, were injured when a ceiling fan fell over them. The students were attending their English language class in the Science Block of the college. The injured girls were immediately shifted to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. The hospital sources told the channel that Quratul Ain received five stitches on her head for the injuries. The channel said the college had no doctor, dispensary or other medical facilities to provide immediate relief to student or the staff in case of emergencies. A large number of students of the college demanded the governor and the CM to take notice of the incident and provide medical facilities to the college. Students also demanded the college administration to properly check and ensure that all electronics in the classrooms were properly fixed so that such incidents could be prevented in future. On the other hand, parents of the injured students said it was very disappointing that the college administration failed to provide basic facilities to the students in classrooms, adding that they had paid large amount of money to the college in fees. Daily times

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Updated: 14 Oct, 2014
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