Over 3,400 students from 14 dental colleges to undertake BDS exams

Exams will be held at 12 centres out of 14 dental colleges of Punjab, unlike previous years when one district used to have one centre only irrespective of the number of colleges in that jurisdiction. But now barring two colleges, all colleges will be made examination centres.

THE BABA Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) is all set to conduct exams for 3,400 BDS students from 14 dental colleges of Punjab beginning Tuesday. In the first batch, nearly 2,200 students will appear for second, third and fourth (final) year BDS exams from Tuesday onward, and starting from July 27, nearly 1,200 first-year dental studies students will appear for their exams.

This comes after a plea filed by dental students before the Punjab and Haryana High Court demanding postponement of the exams was dismissed. BDS students had even launched a campaign against BFUHS on social media to push them to #postponeBDSexams.

A Punjab government spokesperson said that the university has already notified the schedule of examinations of various courses related to graduation and post-graduation of various courses related to health sciences.

Punjab government has also sanctioned more than 4,000 posts of doctors and paramedical staff including technicians, staff nurses, pharmacists, ophthalmic officers, medical/psychiatric social workers, operation theatre assistants, diet supervisors etc. Amid the pandemic, the responsibility of recruiting medical and paramedical staff has been given to Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot. The university will conduct the examinations for recruitment to these posts.

Exams at 12 centres

Exams will be held at 12 centres out of 14 dental colleges of Punjab, unlike previous years when one district used to have one centre only irrespective of the number of colleges in that jurisdiction.

But now barring two colleges, all colleges will be made examination centres. This has been done to maintain social distancing.

Examination centres have been made in three Ludhiana colleges, two each in Patiala, Amritsar and one each in Dera Bassi, Mohali, Sunam Ferozepur and Faridkot.

Final-year students will have to appear for eight theory exams and eight practical exams, while second and third-year students will be appearing for three theory and practical exams each. This is the reason that the schedule is spread over a month. Although students had filed writ petition in HC, but majority of them had already returned to their hostels on Saturday while a few others had asked for changing of their examination centres to avoid hostel stay.

“Rs 5,000 is being charged from us by the colleges for getting our examination centre changed, while Rs 3,500 is the fee for the whole examination. This fee used to exist earlier as well, but now we are changing examination centre out of compulsion. So, we should not be charged this fee,” said a final year student from Government dental college who stays in Ludhiana.

Nearly 5,000 students study in 14 dental colleges of Punjab, out of which nearly 1,400 are doing internships and the rest have to appear for exams.

Another student said, “While many states have postponed their exams of medical courses, Punjab is acting as an exception. We have told the colleges and even BFUHS that if anyone tests positive, the university will be responsible for the same and they will be accountable for providing us with the best of the treatment.”

Meanwhile, medical screening of students will be done before they enter in the examination hall and if anyone shows symptoms, they will be shifted to isolation centre.

If the patient is asymptomatic and is willing to give exam, the exam will be taken at an isolation centre. However, Government Dental College, Patiala has asked students to get their COVID test done and submit the report before entering examination hall.

Out of 3,400 students, majority are from Punjab while nearly 500 are from J&K, Himachal Pradesh and as far as Kerala.

No Punjab politician had spoken in favour of dental students except for MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu. On Sunday evening, when Punjab government clarified that Medical Education and Research Department can get exams of all medical courses conducted, Sidhu in her tweet said: “I don’t know whose ego is playing an act of a criminal villain. How can you be so insensitive towards health of your state’s children. Just remember if they suffer in any way I will leave no stone unturned in a straight confrontation. Who has given you this right? @BfuhsNsui @BFUHS.

Exams conducted recently

Earlier, BFUHS had organised recruitment test for nurses on June 21 in which nearly 7,500 candidates had appeared for written exam for about 400 seats of nurses. Two Patiala nurses, who had tested positive days before the exam and were asymptomatic, were allowed to write their exam in the isolation ward of Rajindra Medical College and Hospital, Patiala. However, 85 centres had been created for nurses in the state for conducting exam, revealed Dr Raj Bahadur, V-C, BFUHS.

In addition to this, BFUHS has already conducted exams of MD for PGI students, while exams of MD, MS of Punjab’s colleges had also started from last week of June.

“Dental students are no exception as BFUHS has conducted exams before as well for many courses. If any college is charging Rs 5,000 for changing centre, BFUHS will get it refunded. We have created more centres for maintaining social distancing and medical screening will also be done by our teams,” the V-C said.

One student from Maharashtra had expressed his inability to come to Punjab for final year exams. The V-C said, “We have arranged his exam in a dental college in Maharashtra itself.”

He also clarified: “Only thermal scanning will be done and if anyone tests positive or shows higher body temperature, he/she will be made to sit in isolation to take the exam. We have not told any college to get COVID tests of students done. They should be admitted in the examination hall after thermal scanning.”

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