Academic assessment: Matric, inter marks a factor in doctors’ hiring

Ombudsman found that old PPSC policy was unfair to graduates of public medical colleges.

Ali Usman August 08, 2013
Matric, inter marks a factor in doctors’ hiring. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) has revised its policy for the recruitment of doctors, making matriculation and intermediate results a consideration for the hiring of medical officers in BS-17.

The Punjab ombudsman had directed the commission to change its policy on the grounds that it was unfair to graduates of public medical colleges, as argued by Young Doctors Association (YDA) leader Dr Salman Kazmi in an application filed in January 2012.

Dr Kazmi stated that when recruiting medical officers, the PPSC gave 65 per cent weight to marks obtained by the candidate in the MBBS exams and 35 per cent to marks obtained in the viva. This, he said, was unfair since there was no uniform marking scale for public and private medical colleges. It was easier to get higher grades in the MBBS exams at private colleges in Pakistan and abroad, he said.

“The policy is discouraging students of public medical colleges who get admission in MBBS after showing outstanding performance, while students of private medical colleges and those who do MBBS from China, Romania, Russia and other countries get preference. In these countries, their percentage of marks in MBBS is high despite the fact that have show poor grades in intermediate and matriculation. We believe that intermediate and matriculation are part of the academic career and their marks should be considered while making appointments,” Dr Kazmi said in his application.

In its reply to the ombudsman, the PPSC said that the policy had been in place for a long time. “For professional posts like doctors and engineers, candidates are awarded marks based on their performance in all parts of the professional exams (five parts spread over five years in the case of doctors). Additionally, marks are also awarded for higher qualification like FCPS, MS, MRCP and FRCS. There is no provision to consider matriculation and intermediate marks for professional posts,” reads the PPSC reply.

YDA members said in response that the commission’s claim that matriculation and intermediate marks had no weight was not true as candidates with field medals in matriculation and FSc were given extra points when it came to recruitment.

“The policy of not considering these pre-professional exams was justified when only the graduates of public medical colleges were in competition, but currently, graduates of private medical colleges are in competition with the public medical college graduates.

The private sector entertains the low FSc achievers in medical colleges and awards them high marks in the professional exams. This hard fact places public medical college graduates in a disadvantageous position because they achieve admission in these medical colleges on the basis of high and merited marks in Fsc,” the doctors said.

They added that the PPSC recruitment policy needed to be revised to make a fairer assessment of academic achievement, one that took matric and intermediate results into account.

The ombudsman found in favour of the doctors and directed the PPSC to change its policy, saying it was unjust to high-achieving students. The PPSC secretary appealed to the governor against the decision, but he upheld the ruling.

The commission then issued a notification on July 31, stating: “The PPSC has revised its policy and matriculation and intermediate marks are being awarded for the posts of MOs/WMOs.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2013.


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