Letter to VC PMC | Petition Signatures

Hon'ble Mr. President,
Pakistan Medical Comission,
Islamabad, Pakistan
 
Subject: Suggestions for mitigating chaos around PMC’s online MDCAT

Dear Dr. Arshad Taqi,

Hope this letter finds you well.

Let me start by appreciating PMC’s work towards standardizing MDCAT throughout Pakistan and making it go online amid Covid Crisis. It was a much-needed step that PMC took under your bold leadership.

I am sure you do understand going online for MDCAT was uncharted territory for both PMC and TEPS and therefore it has met a lot of criticism. The confusion and chaos it has caused for students are unprecedented. Despite this, our team at Nearpeer has always asked students to stay positive and calm and focus on preparation their only.

However, the complaints, mistrust in the system, and morale depreciation are just mounting with each passing day. Around 200,000 students have registered for MDCAT 2021 with high hopes to make it to their dream medical colleges. But since 30th August, a lot of students have been failing their exams despite working hard. Various stories have been rounding social media where the students claimed that the Online testing system is under question.

Here is a list of issues faced by almost all the students during MDCAT 2021:

1.Students faced internet connectivity issues while attempting PMCs practice test, and to everyone’s surprise, the same error occurred during the online exam
2. The majority of the students have claimed that the answer key is incorrect
3. The system does not mark a question if the answer is changed and if a question is skipped
4. Out of syllabus questions in PMC practice tests and MDCAT 2021
5. Some students are also claiming that the answer they selected got changed before they submitted the test
6. In some questions, two options were the same, and if that’s the correct answer, how would the students know which answer is correct according to PMC’s answer key.

Although PMC has denied these accusations on social media posts, these announcements do not address their complaints. These allegations are not only putting PMC’s credibility at stake, but also ruining the future of 200,000 aspirants, their hard work, and their dreams to become doctors to serve their country.

On behalf of all the MDCAT Aspirants, their parents, and all the educationists, Nearpeer is putting forward some requests for PMC. Please note that this letter is not a protest but a humble request to consider our recommendations:

1.Carry a dummy test under Nearpeer’s and Public’s supervision. Dummy candidates should be called to attempt the exam on TEPS provided systems and the public must monitor the whole process.
2.This dummy test must be conducted in the presence of subject specialists from different institutes so that the authenticity of questions can be monitored. Nearpeer’s instructors shall volunteer for this too.
3.This dummy test should be held in normal timings of tests alongside when thousands of other students are taking the test – this is to ensure the system can sustain integrity under real load.
4.The report must be made public.  

This exercise will be very helpful for the public to gain confidence in case everything is working fine at PMC’s end. We hope you understand this exercise shall also channelize students’ and parents’ concerns in a meaningful and polite way.

With this letter, we are attaching thousands of students’ written worries, concerns, and firsthand anecdotes of the test experience. We are also attaching a list of all the signatories for your attention.

We look forward to your positive response.

Regards,

Ammar A. Ayub
CEO, Nearpeer.org
Lahore, Pakistan.

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