Overhauling the Pakistani MCAT system for more meritocracy
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I've already written a post regarding the incompetence and injustice of University of Health Sciences, Lahore, in conducting the MDCAT exam. The wrong key and out of syllabus questions and low quality paper have been laid out in the link provided below. We urge CJP to look into it as his first priority. A system which is incompetent shouldn't be given such a huge responsibility considering the fact that CJP just dismissed Ishaq Dar from UHS. I'll give a link to the detailed post below :
However, here what I intend to do is directly address the Chief Justice of Pakistan, currently the fastest route for any effective action to be taken in this country. We have a 4 point agenda on our hands, and we wish that it's implemented without any further delay because inaction has resulted in thousands of students being demoralized not because of their own fault, but because of the system.
1) One nationwide medical college entrance test exam, conducted twice a year. We do not trust the local bodies i.e UHS at all in their ability to conduct a proper test. The tests we students get right now frequently contain questions from topics which are out of the scope of the syllabus. Also, they're mainly rote-learning based, especially English, which just contains lines from the book 'Mr. Chips' as part of the exam. Often it is seen in English that the sentence is totally correct but because Mr. Chips contains something wrong regarding it, it has to be wrong. Keep in mind that it is an outdated book, whereas grammar rules are never constant and updated every year. We urge the CJP to form an independent body containing experts who form quality papers. This way he can also find a concrete solution to the Central Induction Policy. However, the disillusionment with the system leads me to think that it is impossible right now for such a merit based body to form. Therefore we recommend giving the responsibility to some international body i.e Collegeboard, or even the International MCAT, until our institutions are strong and skilled enough, because this rote-learning based system has not made exceptional doctors. It has not produced any researchers, it has only produced people who have learned calculated responses to old situations but mess up when they're brought in front of REAL situations from REAL life. As for the students of this session, they do not want to go through the pain of a reconduct. They should just be compensated with grace marks in the questionable questions.
2) Increase in the number of seats for medical students is the need of the hour for this country, considering the very high ratio of doctors to patients. For example, Punjab province which has a population of 110 million, has only allotted around 3500 seats per year for medical students. This is very dangerous for the health crisis in this country. This will also help to avoid merit inflation, making sure that it is still the cream of the nation that is joining medical colleges. There are many students who fail to get in due to even a 0.2% difference. That is extremely demoralizing. We understand that there are always some students who are genuinely not skilled enough, but the ones who're left behind by 0.2% aren't those students. The doubling of medical seats should be brought into legislation with IMMEDIATE effect. Statistics show that colleges can accommodate a lot more students than they're currently allowed to.
3) The weightage of the MCAT for admission into medical colleges is extremely high, at 50% of the total aggregate. Students are expected to spend four years of their lives, namely high school and college in getting their matriculation and intermediate degrees which ultimately only account for 50%. And then they're expected to get the other 50% in JUST 3 MONTHS which is highly unrealistic and also unjust. If it were 25% it would still be understandable but 50% is too much. We request that proper experts look at this issue and bring the weightage of the MCAT down to realistic levels, according to international standards.
4) We'd also like to point out the injustice to students from systems other than SSC/HSSC when marks are ultimately converted during equivalency. For example, in this day and age when every other Intermediate and Matriculation student is scoring 1000+ marks easily, O/A levels students can achieve a maximum of 90%, which are 990 marks, owing to their maximum achievable A* grade. I believe that is unrealistic because the difference in quality of education between the two systems is VAST. O/A level students know how tough it is to get an A*, and how few children manage to achieve that. A* deserves an equivalency of 95% while A deserves an equivalency of 90%, and so on. This is the only way to even out the difficulties of the system and be just in awarding marks. Only then can such students be on an equal footing to the students from Pakistan's Education System. It was not our parents' fault that they desired quality education for their children, knowing that the Pakistan Education System was extremely inefficient. Nothing against it, but at least be just with us. My mother curses the day I was enrolled in the GCE system, because I couldn't make it to medical college in the end. And here I'm sitting, wondering what could possibly be wrong with a country where people are cursing the day they enrolled their children in a quality education system...
I understand that we're in the minority here. We only account for a small percentage of the population. But I believe everyone, no matter which system they're from, will agree that our demands are valid.
This system is practically forcing the privileged to seek educational opportunities abroad, leading to brain drain, while the under-privileged cannot, causing them to lead depressed lives.
With policies like these, which country needs external enemies?
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