CHENNAI:There is a pressing need to set up dental colleges in the government sector in Tamil Nadu, as there is only one government dental college as opposed to 29 private institutions that charge lakhs of rupees for every seat, according to senior members of the Indian Dental Council.
The lone Government Dental College in Chennai has only 100 seats for UG and 40 for masters, of which 15 per cent seats are reserved for all-India quota candidates. This shortage of seats is forcing many students, who narrowly miss MBBS, to enrol in private institutions. For many who can’t afford that as well, their dream of a career in the medical field gets shattered.
“There are several private institutions that do not follow the fee structure fixed by the fees fixation committee constituted by the government,” said Major V Murali, Legal Convenor, Indian Dental Association, Tamil Nadu Branch.
“They charge tuition fees even for students who get through government quota,” Major Murali added.
There are 29 private dental colleges in Tamil Nadu, of which 18 are affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University, while the rest are deemed universities.
According to Murali, the dental sector has not been given equal prominence as medicine. The authorities should take
measures to appoint dentists at the Public Health Centre level for quality service in rural regions, where people are dependent on private doctors who charge a substantial fee.
Instead of plainly stating that there was no scope for dentists, the health department should take initiatives to enhance the field, he said.
Echoing his view, KSGA Nasser, former principal of the Government Dental College said that setting up of new dental colleges had been a long-pending demand.
“When there are 20 medical college in the State, why not at least two dental colleges?” Nasser asked.
There are eight speciality departments in the only government college, which could be enhanced so that quality dental care can be provided to people who cannot afford private clinics, he added.
An official with the State Health Department claimed that there was less job opportunities for dentists.
“It is a policy decision of the government, which has to analyse the scope and demand before deciding to set up more dental colleges,” the official added.