ISLAMABAD: After receiving requests from Sindh and Balochistan, the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has decided to postpone the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Tests (MDCAT) till further orders.

“We got requests from both the provinces that due to heavy rains and floods it was not possible for them to hold and provide security for the MDCAT. So it has been decided to postpone the exam scheduled from September 7 to September 30. We deliberately did not announce the next date of MDCAT as we want to start it at the earliest. As soon as things come under control again, we will announce the new schedule. So I suggest to the candidates to keep preparing for the exam,” Director Regulations at the ministry Dr Baseer Khan Achakzai told Dawn.

He said tens of thousands of candidates take the exam conducted by Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) to get admission to medical and dental colleges.

“As it is a centralised exam and conducted across the country simultaneously, we cannot hold it in two or three provinces. The provinces of Sindh and Balochistan have informed us that they had unprecedented rains due to which their whole machinery was busy in flood-related activities. They also informed us that security was required as laptops and computers were moved for the exam and security personnel were deputed at the centres. Moreover, they feared that candidates many not be able to reach the examination centres,” Dr Achakzai said.

Ministry takes decision on request of Sindh, Balochistan

He said that in a meeting, which was also attended by representatives of provinces, it was decided that the exam will be held at the earliest. He urged candidates to continue preparations as the exam could be started in September provided that the situation comes under control. He said a new date will be announced on the website of the PMC.

Around 200,000 candidates take part in the exam which is held across the country and around a dozen other countries in five continents.

According to a letter from the Chief Planning Officer Balochistan, available with Dawn, the provincial secretary health had directed him to inform the PMC that the recent spell of heavy rains had caused widespread floods and displacement of the local populace.

“The damage to the communication infrastructure has rendered travel impossible throughout the province. In light of the prevailing situation, you are requested to postpone the MDCAT 2022-23 until the relief and rehabilitation efforts are completed so that the candidates of Balochistan do not miss out on the opportunity while suffering immeasurable adversities already,” the letter stated.

The letter written by the additional secretary technical Sindh to the federal secretary NHS stated that the province had witnessed unprecedented rains.

“The amount of rain that has fallen so far in August has been more than 561 per cent above average and more than 308pc above the rainfall average for the month of July and August combined. The recent floods have inflicted significant loss and destruction of buildings, homes, crops, livestock and educational and medical facilities,” it stated.

The provincial secretary said it would be very challenging to hold MDCAT as the Met Office had forecast another spell of rain in Sindh in upcoming days. He also requested for the postponement of the MDCAT.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2022

Categorized in: