A Unit of Praxis360.
NEW DELHI: With just a day to go for admissions to post-graduate seats in dental medicine and more than half the seats remaining unfilled, the association of private medical and dental colleges on Tuesday appealed to the Dental Council of India and the government to reduce the cut-off percentile so that more candidates could become eligible for admission.
The colleges are also hoping that the November 10 deadline for admissions will be extended.
Roughly 10-12% of dental post graduate (MDS) seats have been going vacant every year since 2018. In 2015, there were no takers for almost 44% of seats, but the vacancies have reduced since then.
Of the 6,658 MDS seats for which NEET PG entrance was conducted, only 2,950 (44%) were filled as on November 8, pointed out a dental council member adding that colleges were hoping for a reduction in qualifying percentile as was done in earlier years.
“This year, out of 27,580 candidates who took the entrance, going by the qualifying cut-off 16,300 qualified. That’s a ratio of barely 1.5 candidates per seat. However, according to the government’s 2017 gazette notification, if the number of qualifying candidates in the respective categories is less than three times the number of seats or vacancies, the cut-off percentile will be automatically lowered to ensure that the number of eligible candidates will be at least three times the number of seats in each category,” explained Dr Keshav Agrawal of the Association of Private Medical and Dental Colleges. Hence, the colleges are expecting a reduction in the qualifying percentile.
Private dental colleges want NEET to be done away with as it is proving to be a barrier in filling seats despite lowering of cut-off, said a DCI member, adding that the council was not entirely happy about lowering standards. The member added that despite a freeze on opening any more private dental colleges, there are over 27,200 BDS seats and 6,658 MDS seats. Out of the total MDS seats, less than 900 are in government colleges. Out of 320 dental colleges, less than 60 are government ones.
“There are way too many private dental colleges offering bachelor’s degree in dentistry (BDS) and MDS seats. This has led to a glut and most dentists have no job opportunities. The jobs they get mostly pay very poor salaries, Rs 15,000-20,000 per month. In fact, most BDS graduates prefer to do post-graduation in disciplines such as hospital administration or public health as these offer more job opportunities and better paid options than investing in a far more expensive post-graduate degree in dentistry,” explained a BDS graduate who did a post-graduation in public health after failing to get a decent paying job as a dentist.
“The seats in non-clinical subjects such as public health dentistry, oral pathology and oral medicine are the ones that usually have no takers. We have proposed to the government to allow us to take BDS graduates to fill these seats so that there will not be a shortage of faculty in dental colleges in the future,” said Dr Agrawal.