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Over 80 per cent fail medical college entrance test.

PESHAWAR -- Around 82 per cent of the candidates have failed to pass the recent entrance test for admission to the government and private medical and dental colleges in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa prompting experts to raise questions about teaching methodologies and examination system at matriculation and intermediate levels.

The Educational Testing and Evaluation Agency conducted the test on Sunday, while its results were declared on Monday night to the disappointment of both students and their parents.

A total of 43,830 students sat the test and only 7,850 of them passed it putting the pass rate at 18.38 per cent.

For the first time, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council has set the pass percentage for entrance test at 60 per cent to fill 2,700 medical and dental college seats in the province.

Experts question teaching methods, exam system at matriculation, intermediate levels

The experts on education linked the students' poor performance in the test with outdated teaching methodologies practicing in most public and private educational institutions.

They said from the beginning to the intermediate level, the teachers and students adopt rote learning to get the maximum marks in internal and board examinations and that after intermediate examination, they came across the Etea test based on conceptual learning.

Khyber Medical University Vice-Chancellor Prof Arshad Javaid told Dawn that mainly, there was a big difference in the examination system conducted through the education board for intermediate and Etea for admission to medical and dental colleges.

He said students could qualify the intermediate examination with high marks through rote learning and with high possibility of cheatings in the examination halls, while, viva marks during the intermediate examination were often awarded generously to 'influential' students.

'Such things are not possible in the Etea test for medical and dental colleges, which is based on conceptual learning,' he said, adding until the concept of students on topics was not clear, they couldn't solve questions in the paper prepared by Etea.

The VC also said the entrance test was also difficult compared to the intermediate examination as it was meant to take competent students to the medical profession.

A board chairman told Dawn on condition of anonymity that the intermediate students of science group were the ultimate sufferers of two different examination systems as they had to first prepare for board examination, which was based on rote learning, and then for entrance test of professional colleges, which was based on conceptual learning.

He said though education had reached its advance stage in rest of the world, the rote learning continued to be prevalent in public and private educational institutions as education boards prepared examination papers on such a pattern, which could be solved easily by rote learning.

The board chairman said the examination conducted by Etea was based on the students learning outcome (SLO) or conceptual learning, while the entrance test paper consisted of multiple choice questions.

He said in the board examination, each paper was 85 per cent descriptive having long questions, while the rest comprised short questions.

The board chairman said as the paper pattern for entry test and board examination was different from each other, sometimes, high achievers in annual intermediate examination couldn't pass the medical college entrance test.

He said it was alarming that only 18.38 per cent candidates passed the entrance test.

The board chairman said most students got admission in coaching academies for three months by spending thousands of rupees, where the teachers prepared them for the Etea test.

'In coaching academies, the students repeat the intermediate course by clearing their concepts on each topic they have already studied in their respective educational institutions,' he said.

A senior official of the elementary and secondary education department told Dawn that the high failure rate in Etea tests would continue if the pattern of board examinations were not changed.
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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Aug 28, 2019
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