India begins assessing its 400 dental colleges


NAGPUR, India: The sheer number of dental colleges in India makes the country a global powerhouse in dental education, and efforts are underway to ensure that the quality of the country’s thousands of dental graduates remains high. Representatives from the Dental Council of India (DCI) and National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) visited the Government Dental College and Hospital in Nagpur this week in what marks the beginning of a nationwide quality assessment of all dental schools operating in the country.

The college in Nagpur is one of ten throughout India that were selected for the pilot assessment programme, the results of which will contribute to the drafting of a standardised format for appraising India’s dental schools. The Times of India reported that the pilot programme assessments by NABET and DCI representatives were focusing on ten key parameters, including the curriculum, human resources, students’ practical and clinical exposure, teaching technique and innovative teaching approaches, admission processes, research output and community outreach programmes.

Dr Abhay Datarkar, dean of Government Dental College and Hospital, told the newspaper that the visit represented “a landmark achievement that will pave the way for a nationwide system of rating dental colleges using NABET accreditation”, which has already been tested and applied at India’s medical and homeopathic colleges. “Experienced faculty members from our college proposed valuable modifications to the assessment pro forma specifically designed for dental colleges. These suggestions are expected to receive due consideration during formulating the national assessment criteria,” Dr Datarkar added.

Dr Vaibhav Karemore, an assistant professor at the college in Nagpur, said: “By establishing a robust assessment and rating system, aspiring dental professionals can be assured of pursuing their education at institutions that meet the highest standards.”

According to DCI figures, India has 323 colleges offering Bachelor of Dental Surgery degrees, 279 offering Master of Dental Surgery degrees, nine offering postgraduate diplomas in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopaedics, conservative dentistry and endodontics, prosthodontics, paediatric and preventive dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and periodontics and 111 offering qualifications in the areas of dental hygiene and dental mechanics. Dental Tribune International reported in August last year that the National Dental Commission Bill 2023 proposed major changes to dental education in India, including introducing the National Exit Test that all dental graduates would have to pass to obtain licensure to practise and the replacement of the DCI with the yet-to-be-formed National Dental Commission as India’s top regulatory body for dental education.

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