The Punjab government’s policy of opening more and more dental colleges has proved ineffective as for second year running around 45% seats are lying vacant after the admission process by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot, concluded on Thursday.
There are 16 dental colleges in the state with 1,230 BDS seats. Of these, five -- two government colleges, two minority institutes and a university-run (Adesh University, Bathinda) college -- conduct their own counselling. For 11 private dental colleges, the BFUHS holds the counselling.
Pvt colleges worst hit
Of these, the worst hit are the private dental colleges that have as many as 1,050 seats. According to BFUHS, this year alone, 487 BDS seats are lying vacant in private dental colleges. This despite the fact that more than 7,000 candidates had qualified the Punjab Pre-Medical Entrance Test (PMET)! Of these around 1,000 were absorbed in medical colleges. The BDS seats remained vacant as 6,000 eligible candidates chose other courses over the BDS.
According to information obtained by HT, the trend of the BDS seats remaining vacant has continued in the past five years. But the situation has worsened in the past three years. In 2013, there were 104 vacant seats in private colleges. In 2014, as many as 423 BDS seats went abegging.
Looking at the situation, private dental colleges are citing a Supreme Court order of October 1 saying the seats could be filled till October 7 and demanding that they be allowed to fill the management quota seats on their own.
Dr Vikram Sharma, patron, Punjab Private Self-Financed Dental and Medical Colleges Association, says, “The situation will lead to closure of dental colleges in the state and this would be due to the wrong policies and notifications of the government and BFUHS.”
BHUHS vice-chancellor Dr Raj Bahadur says it is clear that these colleges have failed to meet the standards and to produce quality doctors. “Why do people not want to become dentists? Do we really require such a large number of dental surgeons?” he wonders.