Controversy over postgraduate courses admissions

Experts, candidates said entrance test 'flawed'
Lahore, Oct 13: The entrance test for admissions to various postgraduate public health courses conducted by the Institute of Public Health, Lahore, is likely to effect the success of the candidates as several questions in the test are said to be against the basic principles of objective type examination.

The Institute of Public Health (IPH) conducted the entrance test for admissions to MPH, MMCH, MHM and MPhil for the session 2010-2011 on October 4, 2009 in which nearly 200 doctors from all over Pakistan competed for 73 seats.

The candidates were divided in four groups (A, B, C and D) and question papers were distributed by shuffling answer keys in each group. However, the candidates complained that several questions in the test did not fulfill the basic principles of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) as, according to them, at least 18 out of total 40 questions were vague, which might deprive several deserving candidates from getting admissions to postgraduate public health courses.

The candidates said they had also protested over wrong question paper in the examination hall. The public health consultants, who had viewed the question paper, also said that questions were deficient in spirit of an objective type entry test. In certain questions, they said that there could be more than one correct answer.

According to the question paper of "Group A", the public health consultants, on condition of anonymity, pointed out certain inconsistencies, which are as followed:

In Q1, as per key option B is correct answer, whereas, according to book by J.E. Park, option A is correct answer. In Q2, the structure of question has generalized the trend because rates vary from population to population and country to country. In Q5, if India's case is taken then option A is correct and option E in case of Pakistan, whereas options A, C and E can be correct if concept of ratio i.e. numerator and de-numerator is taken.

Q7 is lacking in explanation of time, place and person, while word "dramatically" is subjective one. Q17 is a domain of English grammar and has nothing do with the exam of public health. In Q18, options A and D can be correct answers. In Q20, as per key option C is correct but actually A, D and E options can be correct answers. Q21 is again a domain of English grammar.

In Q22, options A and B of the stem can be correct answers. In Q24, exact values are given as options, whereas, in nutritional questions, ranges have to be given rather than exact figures. In Q25, options A and B can be correct answers. In Q27, options A, C and D can be correct answers, in Q30, options B and C and in Q31 all options can be correct answers. In Q32, options B and D are incorrect statements instead of only one; In Q33, statements are vague; and in Q37, options A, B and D can be correct answers.

The public health consultants were of the view that MCQs or objective type questions should be specific, accurate, to the point and measurable rather than subjective, vague, unclear and lacking in basic principles of objective type tests. For example, they said, if there was a question on writing scientific formula of water then there could be only one answer, but if question was vague then there could be different answers.

They said that the statements should also be clear. Besides, the options - "all of the above" and "none of the above" - amongst other options should not be given together as a matter of rule. It may be mentioned the options - "all of the above" and "none of the above" - were given together in at least four questions (i.e.Q9, Q19, Q26, Q34). They observed that the test should be reviewed by a panel of experts so as not to put any candidate at a disadvantage.

They also said that the test for each course should be conducted separately, otherwise, the courses' identification would be lost. The candidates demanded that entry test should be declared null and void and it should be rearranged altogether with specific and to the point questions or they would go to the court for justice.

When contacted, Prof Dr Shakeela Zaman, Dean IPH, Lahore, expressed her surprise over leakage of question paper because the candidates returned it to the invigilator after attempting the paper. She said that she would be in a position to say something only after seeing the copy of the paper. However, she said, the candidates would always complain about the contents of question paper, saying that the question paper was so simple that even A-Level candidates could easily attempt the paper.

She said the difficulty index of a paper was judged by a panel of experts appointed at the university level and not by the candidates. "If 50 to 60 per cent candidates answered a question correctly then it doesn't fall in difficulty index," she said. The result of the test would be declared on coming Saturday, she added. The news

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LHC seeks replies on entrance test
Lahore: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday sought replies from the Punjab health secretary and the University of Health Sciences (UHS) on a petition filed by 18 A-level students, challenging entrance test for admission to medical and dental colleges. The petitioners, Umar Khubaib and others filed petition through their counsel, Asad Manzoor Butt, pleading that the questions given in the entrance test were out of syllabus. The counsel said that the UHS had introduced a uniform policy for conducting entrance test as per students' classification (intermediate and A level). The UHS also issued classified syllabus in this regard. Dawn

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Commendable performance of QMC Lahore
Lahore: Minister for Education, Mian Mujtaba Shuja ur Rehman has termed the performance of Queen Mary College (QMC) and School in Examinations very commendable and announced that with a view to providing higher education facility to middle class population of the locality, QMC will be upgraded to university by granting degree awarding charter. He expressed these views while meeting with the workers of PML, notables relating to his constituency. He said that QMC is situated in the area where most of the population belongs to middle class. There is dire need to provide them higher education on affordable fee, especially in market oriented discipline.

The Minister said that it is encouraging that the performance of the college in matric and intermediate examination 2009 is outstanding and on account of high standard of education this institution deserves upgradation. He further said that it is encouraging that in matric exam, the result of Queen Mary School was 99% and 112 students secured A+ grade. A student of the school namely Atiqa stood first by getting 999 marks. The result of FSc. Pre Medical was observed 98.8% and students obtained 113 A+ and 77 students achieved A grade respectively, while result of FSc. Pre Engineering remained 96.4%. Result of evening shift of FSc. Pre Engineering and Pre Medical has been observed 100%.

The Minister said that credit of this brilliant performance goes to teachers, parents and students collectively. The government will practically aknowledge the service of this collage and provide maximum financial grant and upgradation and uplift of this institution. The also disclosed that on his suggestion, the Board of Governor of this college has allowed to enhance the full fee concession quota from 2 to 5 percent and half feed concession quota from 8 to 10 percent. F.P Report

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NTU invites journalists for 3-month training in Singapore
Lahore: Journalists from across Asia are being invited for a three-month Asia Journalism Fellowship (AJF) programme at the Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information in Singapore, AJF Director PN Bilji said on Monday.

According to a statement, the programme supported by the Temasek Foundation and the NTU will run from February through April 2010. Bilji said 15 journalists would be selected for the fully funded fellowship. He said the programme also included seminars and workshops. He said the details of the programme, including instructions on how to apply, were available on the website Applicants can also contact Ms Naowarat Narula at Applications are due by 6 November 2009.

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Call to follow Islamic teachings
Lahore: Basic reason for downfall of Muslims is that they are not following teachings of Islam. According to a press statement, it was stated by speakers at a workshop "Importance and Necessity of Islamic Studies" organised by the Government College University (GCU), Lahore, Arabic and Islamic Studies Department on Monday. The speakers urged all Muslims to seek guidance from the Holy Quran and the life of Holy Prophet (PBUH) in their day-to-day affairs so that they could achieve successes in all the spheres of life. Dr Sadat Syed said that all students should recite the Holy Quran with its translation. PU Oriental College former Principal Zahoor Ahmed Azhar also addressed. A large number of students attended the workshop.

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Ashfaq Ahmed remembered
Lahore: A ceremony in memory of the late Ashfaq Ahmed, renowned intellectual, short-story writer, dramatist and former director general of Urdu Science Board (USB), was organised at the USB on Monday. According to a press statement, noted writer Bano Qudsia was chief guest on the occasion while columnist Ata ul Haq Qasmi, Shahzad Ahmed, USB DG Iqbal Nabi Nadeem, National Centre for Educational Equipment DG Dr M Naseem and other prominent personalities from realm of literature attended the ceremony. The speakers paid rich tributes to Ashfaq Ahmed for his great services to literature and said his services to Urdu literature would always be remembered. The news

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