More than half of dental seats have no takers

Limited opportunities in both the private and government sectors have contributed to this trend

The demand for dental seats continues to see a sharp drop with 62.52% of seats remaining unfilled in the state this year.

According to experts, limited opportunities in both the private and government sectors have contributed to this trend. After this year’s counselling conducted by the Karnataka Examinations Authority, as many as 1,443 of the 2,308 seats have remained unfilled. This amounts to a vacancy of 856 seats.

This is the prevailing situation in both government and private universities. At the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and Research (RGUHS), the number of dental admissions for undergraduation for 2018-19 has been 2,403 as against a total of 2,740 seats.

There are 40 dental colleges in Karnataka, of which three are government run. Despite the minimal fees at government colleges, there are 16 vacancies here.

While the total number of seats in private minority colleges is 714, the number remaining vacant is 516 and in private non-minority colleges, out of the 1,480 seats, 911 remained unfilled.

A similar trend seems to have prevailed over the last few years. At RGUHS, even the previous two years, around 500 seats remained vacant.

Dr S Sachidanand, director, medical education said that there were several factors contributing to this, primary among them being lack of adequate opportunities.

“An MBBS or Bachelors of Ayush doctor (BAMS) gets better opportunities both in the private and corporate sectors. Hence, the demand is low for dental courses,” he said. Dr Sachidanand said that incorporates, doctors with a medical background are preferred for administrative posts over those who have studied dental.

The demand for Ayush streams is higher than dental, he said adding, “This is because they get posts on a par with MBBS doctors in primary health centres and other secondary level government hospitals. However, it is mostly in the district level that there are posts for dental doctors,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Riyaz Basha, deputy registrar, RGUHS reasoned that one could not make a living with a mere basic degree and hence, a post-graduation becomes mandatory. “Unlike in most other countries, we tend to reach out to an expert and not general physician even for basic check-ups. Similar is the case with dental, where patients prefer to see a dental surgeon.”

“While an MBBS or BAMS doctor could start a clinic with just a stethoscope and BP apparatus, investment on dental equipment would be far higher,” he added.

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