Three programmes for dental paramedics – dental mechanics, dental operation room assistant and dental hygienist – running in numerous authorised training centres of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) do not have regulatory approvals of the Dental Council of India (DCI). This means there is every likelihood of candidates trained for these three paramedics courses being rejected for government jobs. Also, if one goes by the DCI gazette notification, NSDC’s programmes are being offered in violation of the standard and norms set by the dental regulator.
According to a gazette notification dated August 19, 2008, “The dental mechanics diploma course can be started by a recognised dental college or a dental college which got the permission from the Central government for 3rd year BDS course onwards with maximum 20 seats.” Similar provisions have been made to regulate dental operation room assistant and dental hygienist by separate gazette notifications.
According to Col (Retd) SK Ojha, secretary, Dental Council of India, “Our regulations have prescribed minimum requirements for institutions imparting training for dental paramedics. For example, there should be one instructor for every 10 students, no person except those holding recognised dental qualifications shall be employed as instructors etc. We have no knowledge of the kind of infrastructure and teaching standards being maintained at NSDC’s training centres.”
According to Prof (Dr) Mahesh Verma, past president, Indian Dental Association (national) and current director-principal, Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, “Since these courses are regulated by DCI, NSDC’s paramedical courses will not have any validity for government jobs.”
Ashish Jain, head, Health Sector Skill Council (HSSC), NSDC, however, has defended the council’s dental paramedics programmes and said, “The job roles - dental assistant, dental hygienist, dental lab technician - are not in any way creating dentists but are providing national occupational standards (NOS) for allied health professionals. All HSSC Certified allied health professionals are eligible to work in both private and public sector in the country.”