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LAHORE: As many as 66,864 candidates including 45,121 females and 21,743 males appeared in the Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) which was conducted by the University of Health Sciences (UHS) on Sunday.

The test started at 1000 hrs and went off peacefully for three and a half hour at 29 centres set up in Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Gujrat, Sahiwal, Sargodha, Multan, Rawalpindi Bahawalpur, and D.G.Khan. Candidates started reaching their centres as early as 07:00 a.m. UHS had engaged the services of 4270 school and college teachers to perform duties as supervisory and invigilation staff, 225 superintendence and 355 deputy superintendence whereas senior faculty members of the university were deputed as head couriers and couriers to conduct the test.

The vice-chancellors, pro-vice chancellors, principals, and senior faculty members of government medical institutions in relevant cities were deputed as regional in-charges to ensure successful conduct while officers of the Specialized Health Care and Medical Education department, deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners in relevant districts monitored the arrangements.

Section 144 was imposed to prevent the entry of unauthorized persons at the examination centres. All the centres were sealed at 09:00 am. A large number of police personnel were deployed at the centres to prevent any disruption of the examination. Ambulances, medical teams, and fire brigades were also made available at the centres to counter any untoward incidents. Besides, closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras, mobile phone jammers, and walk-through gates were installed at major centres.

A physical search of the candidates was also conducted at the entry points. There were proper arrangements for the students with disabilities, parking, and waiting area facilities for the parents of the candidates. Back-up power generators were also provided at some of the centres. For the biometric verification of candidates, NADRA counters were made available at all the centres.

In Lahore, a total of 13,259 female and 5755 male candidates appeared in the test at the Government College University, University of Education Township, Lahore College

for Women University, Government APWA College for Women, Divisional Public School Model Town, Government Queen Mary Graduate College, Divisional Public

School Township, Government Graduate College for Women Township and Government Graduate College for Women, Gulberg.

Meanwhile, in Multan, 13591 candidates appeared in the test. The number of candidates in Bahawalpur was 5060, Faisalabad 7528, Gujranwala 4142, Sialkot 2573, Sahiwal 3707, Rawalpindi 3335, Sargodha 3123, Gujrat 1727 and D.G. Khan 3064 candidates appeared in the test.

Punjab Health Minister Professor Javed Akram and Secretary Health Ali Jan Khan visited various examination centres in Lahore.

While talking to the media along with Vice Chancellor UHS Professor Ahsan Waheed Rathore, GCU Vice Chancellor Professor Asghar Zaidi, Principal Ameer-ud-Din Medical College, Professor Sardar Muhammad Al Fareed Zafar and Special Secretary (Development) Primary and Secondary Healthcare department Fatima Sheikh at Government College University Lahore, Professor Javed Akram expressed his satisfaction over the arrangements.

The Health Minister said that UHS had made immaculate arrangements for the MDCAT. “All the candidates and their parents have been provided a comfortable environment”, Prof. Javed Akram said adding that the exam started on time and would end on time. He further said that MDCAT was a tough competition and every effort had been made to uphold merit and transparency. Responding to a question, the provincial minister said the cost for conducting MDCAT was more than the money received by UHS for the purpose, so the Punjab Cabinet had approved an additional grant of Rs 1,000 per candidate for the university.

UHS VC, Prof. Ahsan Waheed Rathore, said that the conduct of MDCAT was important as it would ensure merit and justice. He further said that new standard operating procedures were developed and fresh multi-tiered security measures were taken for every step of preparation, printing, packaging, and transportation of MDCAT paper.

Prof. Rathore said that medical and dental colleges have always challenged the brightest and best-prepared minds. He added that admissions were consistently becoming more competitive. “MDCAT results are extremely important. They carry 50 percent weightage in merit as per the formula of the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PM&DC). They are proof that the candidate can handle the academic rigors of medical or dental college”. He thanked the Punjab government for its support in the smooth conduct of the test.

Later in the evening, just five hours after the test, UHS uploaded the answer key to the question paper on its website. With the help of this key, candidates can calculate their scores themselves. The official result will be declared in a week after which the admission schedule will be announced.

There are 3376 MBBS seats in 16 public sector medical colleges and 240 BDS seats in 03 public dental colleges of Punjab. Besides, there are around 4500 MBBS and 800 BDS seats in 45 private sector medical and dental colleges of the province.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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