The Education and Evaluation Testing Agency (ETEA) has taken a stand against the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) over its contentious decision to award grace marks to all students in the Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) if 90 percent of candidates fail to answer questions correctly.
The decision regarding the exam, scheduled for 10 September, has sparked outrage among students and parents.
ETEA, through Khyber Medical University (KMU), submitted a dissenting note to PMDC, arguing that this policy unfairly disadvantages the 10 percent of students who answered correctly. In an official letter, ETEA emphasized the importance of upholding justice by not penalizing the high-performing minority.
Furthermore, ETEA has urged regional commissioners and authorities to crack down on individuals attempting to sell advance access to MDCAT questions. The agency implored candidates not to be misled by such tactics and to report any illegal activities to law enforcement.
The controversy has also led to financial losses for ETEA, amounting to Rs. 23 million, due to the rescheduling of MDCAT from 27 August 2023 to 10 September. ETEA had pre-booked air-conditioned halls across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and incurred expenses
Government officials in Peshawar have criticized PMDC’s grace marks formula, deeming it ‘illogical and irresponsible’. Many anticipate legal challenges if the policy is implemented, with some hardworking students and parents vowing to take the matter to court.
The situation has revealed a logistical challenge, as ETEA had already booked 49 wedding halls for MDCAT in various cities when the exam date was changed. ETEA plans to seek financial compensation from PMDC and KMU, both of which collect fees from candidates but have no direct involvement in exam arrangements.
This unexpected turn of events may also complicate ETEA’s financial audits, as auditors may question the dual allocation of funds for MDCAT.