The government’s plan to conduct common entrance exams for undergraduate medicine and dentistry courses from the upcoming session has hit a wall as the Medical Education Commission, the body mandated to implement the decision, is struggling to develop a common exams criteria.
In a bid to come up with a criteria applicable to all medical schools and to study and report the availability of resources to conduct common entrance exams, the commission had formed a seven-member Common Entrance Committee led by Dr Jagdish Prasad Agrawal, the dean of Institute of Medicine. But the committee is struggling to achieve its task with limited time at hand.
“We do not have enough time left to come up with common academic calendar, syllabus and questions in . Several technical problems are bound to arise in the process,” admitted Dr Agrawal.
The commission has been reported about the situation, he added.
Health experts have also pointed out that conducting common entrance exams requires a lot of homework and time. They have also cautioned the government against implementing the decision in a haste.
Senior orthopaedic surgeon of the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital Dr Govinda KC is one of the chief proponents of common entrance exams for MBBS and BDS courses. And even he is of the view that the commission should take its time to adopt the new system.
“The commission should not hurry because it has no resources to manage a common stage for all the institutions’ demands. They can do homework over the resources for now and implement the policy from the next session,” said Dr KC.
Some institutions providing MBBS and BDS courses such as BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Patan Academy of Health Sciences are not affiliated to any universities, while the other institutions are either affiliated to the Tribhuvan University or Kathmandu University. Moreover, each institution follow their own set of regulations and criteria for MBBS and BDS entrance exams. Their model questions, syllabus and academic calendar differ as well.
With all these factors to consider, health experts say, it is best for the commission not to rush.
After receiving the committee’s report, the commission has conceded to the fact that the proposed common entrance exams cannot be held from the upcoming session.
The commission will likely wait for some more days to announce its final decision as the Medical Education Ordinance Replacement Bill is awaiting approval.
Lal Jung Chauhan, the commission’s secretary, said that the committee’s report has compelled them to rethink about the implementation of the decision.
“We are also waiting for the ordinance to be endorsed. Once the ordinance gets endorsed, we will announce our message regarding the common entrance policy for the upcoming session,” he said.