The medical student community of Pakistan has been in a state of disarray ever since the students’ petition to postpone the Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) 2020 (originally scheduled for November 29) in the wake of rising coronavirus cases across Pakistan was rejected earlier today.
Caught between the stress of the looming examinations and the impact that COVID-19 is having on them and their families, the affected students have taken to Twitter to call out the government for its brazen lack of concern and urge it to delay the examinations.
While the government has taken steps to ensure that SOPs are followed strictly amidst the second wave of coronavirus cases in the country and has even proceeded to ban public gatherings and close down educational institutions, it has bafflingly refused to postpone the upcoming MDCAT despite the fact that it will feature a gathering of potentially thousands of students.
The rationale appears to be that as long as SOPs are followed within the exam halls, students have nothing to worry about. However, the clearly agitated student body does not view it the situation that way.
Such is the uproar that #DelayMDCAT2020First is currently trending on Twitter with over 155k tweets. Here is how students and activists have reacted on Twitter.
Some of them have made no secret of expressing their disappointment at Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC):
— Fatima Amir (@FatimaA05277638) November 27, 2020
— Shazma (@Shazma93663810) November 27, 2020
— AFridi (@AFridi28370776) November 27, 2020
Others have questioned the logic of holding such a massive congregation of students despite the concerning rise in coronavirus cases across the country:
Last year peshawar ma 9k students registered the toh pori city completely block ho gyi thi toh is saal 18.5k students peshawar ma registered hain aur highiest corona case increasing rate b peshawar ma19.35% hain agye ap khud soche. @HamidMirPAK @MJibranNasir #DelayMDCAT2020First
— 𝕳𝖆𝖒𝖟𝖆 𝕸𝖆𝖑𝖎𝖐 (@5rwEofI9CIeNHnj) November 27, 2020
Risking the lives of 1.5 lakh students is almost as cruel and callous as a terrorist attack, as this tweeter points out:
The stress, tension, disappointment, never felt hatred for someone and esp for GOVT this badly. They are risking lives of 1.5 lac or so students, are they any less than those terrorists at Peshawar Aps attack? TY FOR SHOWING US YOUR REAL FACE. #ShameonPmc #DelayMDCAT2020First
— sarimsayss (@sarimsayss) November 27, 2020
In an act of defiance and protest, students and activists are calling for the masses to unfollow the prime minister as well:
— Delay MDCAT2020 (@Islamic__Mind) November 27, 2020
Ab is 12.9 m sy is ko grao y ni sun rha esy nhi manega show ur student power jtna wkt tweet krny p lga rhy ho utna isy unfollow krny m lgao please! Ive done now its ur turn Start#DelayMDCAT2020First #ShameonPMCandImranKhan #MDCAT#NoDelay_NoVote #Novotetopti #NOVOTEFORPTI pic.twitter.com/N4MwRzl594
— Alizay (@Alizay44378751) November 27, 2020
Politicians haven’t held back either, notably PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, who has severely criticized the government for its decision:
While all educational institutions are closed and exams are being postponed, MDCAT students are being forced to appear for NMDCAT test by PMC. Isn’t safety of medical students& safety of their families not as important? Why the discrimination? Why imperil them & their families?
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) November 26, 2020
The unrest among students is well and truly underway. All that remains to be seen is whether the government will retract its decision, or whether the aggrieved student body will have no choice but to attend MDCAT 2020.
What do you think of the government’s refusal to postpone examinations in the midst of rising coronavirus cases?