MANGALORE Jan 26: The Dental Council of India (DCI), while recommending the Government to post dentists in primary health centers (PHCs), expressed its opposition to dental colleges at the under-graduate level being increased. Its opposition to more colleges being opened stems from the fact that managements are not able to maintain quality of education.
Inaugurating the 61st Indian Dental Conference here on Friday, Anil Kohli, president of DCI, said a majority of people in rural areas had no access to dental care. Posting dentists in PHCs would help the people in villages maintain their dental health, he said.
Stating that 27 per cent of the 960-odd dental colleges across the world were in India, he said this phenomenon had a bearing on quality of education. "The DCI has closed some colleges which are not doing well. Colleges which are not meeting the standards in terms of qualified staff and infrastructure will be closed," he said. Admitting that there was political pressure for opening more colleges, he said the DCI was trying to facilitate quality education.
Referring to a move to convert the undergraduate dental programme into a standard five-year course to follow the global norm, Dr. Kohli said that this would not place additional financial burden on students or their parents. "We have included new subjects such as implants and cosmetic surgery into the course," he said and added that it would neither burden the colleges.
He said there would be no increase in fee with the course duration extended by one year. Stating that DCI had deliberated with the governments and that the fee would not exceed Rs. 1.84 lakh, he said if the college managements charged more than the prescribed fee, it could be brought to the notice of the council, Dr. Kohli said.
The council had recommended to the government to fix Rs. 15,000 a month salary to students who took to teaching or field assignment. Exhorting the students that it was their right to ask for this amount, he said the council had recommended that students undergoing internship should be paid a stipend of Rs. 3,000. "These are not assurances but facts," Dr. Kohli said.
Observing that oral health had received its due in India, Dr. Kohli said the Government had set aside Rs. 40 crore in the 11th Five Year Plan for the purpose. In a bid to encourage research in dentistry, the DCI had made it mandatory for those who were into academics to publish papers for promotions. The council was working out modalities to make continuing dental education mandatory, he said.
The council, in collaboration with a Canadian university, would be setting up an Oral Cancer Prevention and Rehabilitation unit in India. The memorandum of understanding to this effect would be signed shortly. Efforts were on to ensure that dental graduates here had access to libraries of universities abroad.
"The DCI has taken steps to make available certain publications by reputed professionals free of cost to its members," he said.