Plans to limit medical, dental examinees

The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) is planning to limit candidates for the combined medical and dental admission test slated for September for both public and private institutions.

A proposal has been sent to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Director General (DG) Khandaker Md Shefaetullah.

He said the sheer number of top GPA holders in SSC and HSC examinations every year have forced the rethink.

"It's a challenge to take exams of a huge number of students. We want to allow three students for each seat to sit the test," he said, adding the BUET has been following the model for long.

As many as 40,000 students sit the admission test on average every year in more than 20 centres across Bangladesh as the threshold score for being eligible for the test is GPA 8 with a minimum GPA 3.5 in any of the SSC and HSC exams.

The DG said taking test of such a huge number of candidates was a 'challenging' task which is 'unnecessary in the current context'.

"Thousands of students get maximum GPA, but we allow students to sit the admission test with average GPA-4 in each exam," he said.

"It's very hard to monitor," he said, "It (medical admission test) becomes a public examination." The DG said once the ministry agreed, they would outline the eligibility criteria of students.

Allegations have it that coaching centres try to leak question papers every year. Last year, police busted a gang before the admission test on Sep 23 as they were collecting money from students in return for question papers in advance.

The DGHS officials also caught a Bangladesh Government press man as he was leaving with a question paper hidden in his groin after work.

In 2007, several students staged a protest at Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka after the results of the admission test were out, claiming that the questions were leaked. They argued that to their utter surprise, students even with GPA 3.5 'secured seats at Dhaka Medical College, Bangladesh's top medical college.

The DG, however, said there were no reports about the question paper leak at any time. "But students with low GPA are likely to make extra effort to get the questions," he said, "and coaching centres take that advantage."

Altogether 2,811 seats are up for grabs at 22 government medical colleges while 4,245 seats are available with 53 private medical colleges. The nine public dental colleges and medical colleges' dental units have 567seats while there are 870 seats in 14 private dental institutes.

Medical Education's Director Shah Abdul Latif told they planned to take the exams before the Dhaka University admission tests slated for Oct 12.

Last year, the combined medical and dental admission test for both public and private institutions was held on Sep 23 for the first time. The admission forms were made available online.

The examination is based on 100-mark one-hour multiple choice question (MCQ).