Question the fairness of exams amid the virus pandemic
Pakistani medical students demanded on Friday their promotion to the next academic semester immediately.
They cited rising numbers of Covid-19 cases among students and an incomplete delivery of the curriculum, questioning the fairness of exams amid the pandemic.
Students enrolled in the MBBS and BDS programmes at various colleges in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa objected to physical exams and called for them to be held online.
They got the hashtags #promotemedicalstudents and #justiceforenrolledstudents trending on Twitter Saturday.
58 deaths Today, 2.5k New Cases reported.— Syed Mukaram Abbas (@mukaramali922) January 2, 2021
World recognized UHS is going to hold physical examinations from 10th Jan.#promotemedicalstudents@fslsltn@ChMSarwar@jakramaimc@uhslhrofficial#قاتل_یو_ایچ_ایس pic.twitter.com/6IWglry5Jh
Dr. Talha Shah, Final Year BDS is Serious, How many of Us have to be on This bed before your megalomanic approach towards medical students ceases ? Stop playing with our Lives. Take Online Exams or Promote us.@Jhagra @Shafqat_Mahmood @fslsltn #promotemedicalstudents pic.twitter.com/I0f9GhdCON— Husnain Farid Khan (@Dr_HFK) January 2, 2021
The annual professional exams, usually held in October-November every year, were delayed because of the closure of educational institutions by the National Command and Operation Center until January 10.
A representative of the Doctors Wake-up Movement, a medical students and doctors rights group, said that due to the restrictions, classes were being taken online since March 2020. While theory classes had been adequately covered, clinical skills and practical laboratory training fell behind, he said.
The representative believed that students could not be prepared for this part of the annual professional exams, which accounts for 50% of the overall score. Any student failing the professional exam and the supplementary exam would be set back by two years, instead of the ordinary one year, he explained.
50% of Medical Professional Exams consist of Practical Labs that students could not complete due to online education.If any one of them get detention this year when already Proff delayed,two years will be wasted as of detention rule of medical education.#promotemedicalstudents pic.twitter.com/aREy2gsHn4— Doctors Wake-Up Movement🚩 (@DWMOfficial) January 2, 2021
A number of medical students cited provisional promotions in India and asked why that could not be done in Pakistan.
In our own curriculum we use alot of books written by Indian authors and they are also recognised all over the world if they can promote MBBS students why cant we???@ImranKhanPTI#promotemedicalstudents pic.twitter.com/qCvPaZjXTd— Najeeb Arbani (@NajeebArbani) December 25, 2020
The Indian medical education regulator has, however, advised institutions against promoting students without completing exam requirements.
Dr Sadia Akram, the Jinnah Sindh Medical University registrar, reassured students of fairness in the upcoming exams. “We teachers are constantly monitoring what they are taught. The exams will be set accordingly,” she said.
Dr Akram explained that clinical and practical skills were taught at the JSMU as usual until March 2020. During the first lockdown, medical institutions identified critical components that could not be taught online and when the restrictions were lifted temporarily, these components were given priority, she said.
Muhammad Atif, the media director for Lahore’s University of Health Sciences, said the send-up exams, which are conducted internally as a pre-requisite for the annual professional exams, have already been set on the regular curriculum and been conducted.
Ali Raza, the Pakistan Medical Commission vice-president, said taking exams didn’t fall under their domain and it was a call for the medical institutions to make.
Late last year, the MDCAT encountered many issues and the results were withdrawn over irregularities. The decision was taken after students across the country complained of unfair marking and discrepancies in roll numbers and attendance.
The PMC later announced that the amended results were final. This prompted Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho to demand the centre allow provinces to hold their own tests.
On Dec 24, the Sindh cabinet announced the establishment of the Sindh Medical Commission. It said the SMC would regulate all public and private medical institutes in the province.