Bangladesh Government introduces a major change in an old system of recruiting students at the medical and Dental colleges by scrapping the old admission test. Therefore from now on there will be no admission tests for public and private medical colleges this year as students will be enrolled on the basis of their SSC and HSC results. This was decided at a meeting at the Health Ministry yesterday with Health and Family Welfare Minister AFM Ruhal Haque in the chair. The meeting decided that the candidates must have at least a combined GPA of 8 in Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) to apply for admission.
The previous system was much criticised for putting a lot of stress on students financially and emotionally for having to go through the extra arrangements with private institutions who were ready to train candidates to face these tests. These private organisations known as “coaching centres” benefited financially under this system. Those who could predict test questions and prepare their students with a higher admission rate would build a better reputation amongst students and thereby become richer at the expense of the student.
Many also believed that the old system was not fair as it encouraged closed door abuse through often unfair recommendations for those having links with the “powerful”. This was specially the case where there was an oral exam following a written exam. It was the oral exam that often was the subject matter of unfairness to some who had no political or affluent links. However, as the Minister has not disclosed the full technical details of the admission process, it is not clear whether this type of identified abuse could be overcome under the new measures. The Minister stated that they were yet to outline the technical details of how those seats would be filled up by thousands of top-graders.
Private sector gives a boost:
There are are a total of 8,493 seats in all medical and dental colleges in Bangladesh.
The public sector has 22 ( government) medical colleges offering 2,811 places whereas private sector offers 4,245 by 53 private medical colleges.
The 9 public dental colleges and medical colleges’ dental units have 567 seats whereas 14 private dental institutes have 870 seats.
These figures clearly show that the private Sector dominates this field.
This also means that even if all the seats are filled and all the doctors pass their relevant exams Bangladesh will only be able to produce 1 doctor for around 20,000 people. Had the private sector not moved in then the figure would have been 1 doctor for around 55,000 people.
However, no proposal is perfect according to it’s critics. A former pro-vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Prof Rashi-E-Mahbub said “Those who could make up for their small GPA gaps in the admission test might be deprived.”
“If competent candidates cannot enrol into the medical colleges, then it will be a great shame for us,” felt Prof Mahbub who once was President of Bangladesh Medical Association.
On the other hand, medical Education’s Director Prof Shah Abdul Latif, however, admitted that the admission test turned into a “trade/business” for a group of people. “They become active before the exams. Now they will be eliminated.”
The Director said they would take application online from GPA 8 graders of the both exams as usual.
For foreign students, he said, “If we convert their GPA then GPA 7 will be equivalent to our GPA 8″. He said students in rural areas would not miss out as the usual 20 percent district quotas would be there.
On the other hand, a group of admission seekers staged a protest through demonstrations at the Central Shaheed Minar expressing their protest against the new admission system. Reports say that more than 200 students reportedly gathered in front of the Shaheed Minar around 10am and started demonstration. The also expressed their intention to continue with the protest tomorrow.