After a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, medical colleges in the country are set to hold examinations for the first, second and third years of the professional Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) courses.
Students who failed in their examinations held in November 2019 will sit for the examinations from Wednesday.
On the other hand, examinations for regular students of first, second and third years of the professional MBBS courses will begin in the third week of December.
The medical colleges have already completed their preparations to hold the examinations maintaining health protocols. The examinations were scheduled to be held in May this year but were pushed back due to the pandemic.
All foreign students of different medical colleges across the country, who had failed in their final examinations last year, have returned to their respective colleges and completed one month of quarantine period.
Per the instructions of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), regular international students have already begun registration formalities to return to Bangladesh and sit for the examinations in December.
The examinations for the post-graduate students that were earlier scheduled for July this year will begin next January.
Professor Khan Abul Kalam Azad, principal of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, praised the decision to hold the MBBS examinations amid the pandemic. He said, "Students have already lost nine months. It will not be wise to waste more time.
"We have to deal with various diseases all the time. Now we are dealing with Covid-19. The coronavirus cannot stop the academic activities of future doctors."
When asked about foreign students, he said the irregular foreign students returned to Bangladesh one month ago. They will sit for the final examinations from Wednesday, he added.
Md Bahalul Haque Chowdhury, controller of examinations at Dhaka University, told The Business Standard that they have asked the medical colleges to complete all preparations to hold the professional examinations from the third week of December. However, the specific dates are yet to be fixed, he maintained.
Around 30,000 students from 36 government medical colleges and 70 private medical colleges will sit for the professional examinations in December.
Professor Kanak Kanti Barua, vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), said they have decided to begin holding the deferred examinations for post-graduate students from January next year.
Dr Md Nowshad Ali, principal of Rajshahi Medical College, said they have held online classes since March this year. "We are prepared to hold the final examinations. We just need the exam schedule to be fixed," he said.
Stressing the importance of holding the professional examinations, Professor Dr Chitta Ranjan Debnath, principal of Mymensingh Medical College, said, "We absolutely must hold the examinations in December. Otherwise, the process to build future doctors will be derailed."
AHM Enayet Hossain, director general of the DGHS, told TBS that they are cooperating with the controllers' offices to hold the examinations in December.
Meanwhile, the Ministry may take a decision on holding the MBBS entrance test for the 2020-21 academic session later this week.
The students who are set to enroll in the country's medical colleges this year will provide healthcare to the people in four years, medical experts pointed out. "People will be deprived of medical treatment if new students are admitted through an improper process," they argued.