For the first time in country’s history, the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) has made it mandatory for the overseas students to clear Medical and Dental Admission Test (MDCAT) to get admission in Pakistan.
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), representative body of doctors, expressed concerns over the decision and said the decision would close the doors of medical education on local students.
The provinces can fix a quota for foreign students for admission to their public sector colleges. Private institutions have been allowed to have a different fee structure for foreign students.
However, the Pakistan Association of Private Medical and Dental Institutions (PAMI) believes that majority of local students would be admitted as the decision of the PMC to declare MDCAT mandatory will compel foreign students to look for options in other countries.
According to a notification issued by the PMC, foreign students have been divided into two categories i.e. Pakistani students (overseas Pakistanis) and foreign students.
“There are no quotas for foreign students. All foreign students will compete on a national merit for admission into private colleges. Each province may set up a quota for foreign students for admission to their public colleges, if they so desire. Private colleges may have a fee structure for foreign students different to Pakistani students, with a lower fee charged for Pakistani students,” says the notification.
“A foreign student may apply for preparation of merit to a private college on the basis of having taken the MDCAT result or SAT II (Scholastic Aptitude Test) results in Biology, Chemistry and Physics/Maths. The ratio given to each score for calculating cumulative score equivalence to MDCAT shall be Biology 40pc, Chemistry 30pc, Physics/Maths 20pc. English is exempted if the students have obtained their HSSC qualification from a programme taught primarily in English,” the notification states.
Moreover this year, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, students of both categories have been exempted from MDCAT and only SAT II will be considered for their admissions. Foreign students who elect to come to Pakistan and take the MDCAT on Nov 15, 2020, will not lose their status as foreign student for purposes of applying for admissions. A foreign student will after having taken the MDCAT still retain the right to either select their MDCAT score or their SAT II scores at the time of applying for admissions to private college, says the notification.
PMA Secretary General Dr Qaisar Sajjad said
“Our local students will not be able to get admissions, on the other hand foreign students will leave the country after graduation, so Pakistan will face deficiency of doctors in future. I suggest that tax should be imposed on foreign students as initially there will be just a few foreign students but with the passage of time number will increase as they will know that it is easy to do graduation from private colleges,”
“Earlier there was 15 per cent quota for foreign students and we used to get 3pc to 4pc but now it has been decided that foreign students will also have to clear MDCAT. I fear that we will hardly get students. However, a good thing is that students will have to pay fee in foreign currency so the country will be benefited,” he said.