By: Haseeb Uddin
Karachi: A countrywide comprehensive survey entitled “PMDC performance Survey” undertaken by Dental News showed that merely 13 per cent dentists are satisfied with the existing curriculum of BDS course, 56pc opined it be revised, whereas 31pc wanted drastic change in it.
Gathered from various media reports, PMDC recently decided to re-restructure the BDS programme in Pakistan from a 4 year BDS programme to a 5 year BDS programme.
Some senior academicians who were part and parcel of the 2003 curriculum revision stated that it should not be about 4 or 5 years, its about the objectives we are set out to achieve in producing a dentist. Different institutions follow different working hours which range between 24-40 hours a week. The Universities should be entitled to draw up their curriculum based in credit points as long as the minimum criteria is met.
The BDS curriculum was restructured to 4 year programme from 5 years in April 2003. 12 years down the road, media reports claims that PDMC again decided to revert the curriculum to 5 years again while the fraternity still awaits an official declaration from the PMDC.
The preamble PMDC underwrites to the revision claims that the Pakistani BDS graduates will get direct lateral entry to UK& USA without sitting the an equivalency exam of the respective constituent regulatory body.
However when it was checked if this was possible, the Overseas Registration Exam website revealed, that
“dentists who gained their primary dental qualification from a university that is not in either the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland will usually be required to pass the ORE before being able to register with the GDC.
Dentists who fall into this category but qualify as an exempt person are eligible to have their degree assessed on an individual basis. This is known as Individual Assessment: however, you should be aware that this is not a guaranteed route to registration and unsuccessful applicants are required to sit the ORE”.
With regards to the USA, the ASDA website states that
“Many dentists and dental students educated outside the United States and Canada wish to obtain a dental license to practice in the U.S. To become licensed to do so, internationally-trained dentists must follow these steps:
Determine the state(s) where you wish to obtain a license and contact the state board(s) of dentistry to obtain specific licensure requirements and a sample application.
Take the NBDE Part I administered by the ADA Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE).
Apply to an accredited dental education program with advanced standing to earn a DDS or DMD degree. The application and list of available programs can be found on ADEA’s CAAPID site.
Following the completion of the educational program, take the NBDE Part II.
Complete a clinical licensing examination administered by a state or regional clinical testing agency accepted in the state where you wish to be licensed.
There is no exemption based on 4, 5 or even 6 years BDS programme, based on this a survey was designed to check how the dental fraternity thinks about the 5 year plan.
Dental News held a survey on the matter gathering opinions from Dentists from all over Pakistan. A large number of dentists from all over Pakistan took part in the survey. Following are the responses received:-
What is your opinion about the current curriculum?
When asked about the opinion on the current curriculum, 87% respondents opined that the current curriculum required revision or needed drastic changes. This leaves question in the face PMDC given the opinion poll, that just by adding a few course to year 5 of the curriculum, how such a big gap of unsatisfactory opinion will be catered. This also raises questions on the priorities PMDC is setting for the development of the profession
Should admission in dental Colleges be based on…
83% of the respondents said that admissions should be based on merit and merit only. Further gender based quotas or reserved seats must be discouraged in order to encourage merit in the profession as on 17% were in favor of quota/ reserved seats facility. It reflects that dental fraternity wishes to opt for entries in the profession by strict merit only in order to bring innovation and positive development in the fraternity.
Will adding 1 more year to BDS will ensure lateral entry of graduates to USA, UK and other countries?
On the question of adding 1 more year to BDS, 25% respondents said that they would be able to get a direct lateral entry to practice in the USA, UK and other countries. Whereas 47% said it is not possible and 28% said they were not sure if it was possible. Inquiry was made to General Dental Council – UK and National Board of Dental Examination – USA, they both categorically denied the possibility of graduates getting a lateral entry to the boards.
Do we have enough faculty to teach another year?
64% opined that Dental & Medical colleges did not had ample faculty to teach another year. while 14% were unsure of the situation, 21% agreed in favor having sufficient faculty for teaching the 5th year.
Is our examination system as per global norms?
Examination system implementation again was deferred as substandard with 71% of the respondents negating the examinations being as per the global norms. While 17% were unsure of the circumstance, 12% agreed with examination being up to the mark of the global standards.
PMDCs performance in curriculum development is?
When asked about the performance of PMDC in curriculum from the participants, respondents express displeasure on the performance of the PMDC. The results completely discredit PMDC’s position in the health care fraternity only making it more unpopular with the new decisions taken by the council members. With more then 50% respondents expressing displeasure and 39% express average performance, it is high time for PMDC to revisit their practices and review their decisions that are making them unpopular.
What should be the examination System?
More then 81% of the respondents opined that an hybrid system of examination must be adapted. While the teaching and assessment methodology remains the provocative of the University solely based on HEC guidelines, the respondents indicate that curriculum revision including the assessment methodology needs to be revamped before any further decision needs to be taken by the PMDC in order to improve the academic system of the dental colleges. With 8% and 11% opiniating on internal and external examination system solely, may also indicated a level of distrust and unsatisfactory outcomes from the existing system of examination.
Do we have locally written books used in the curriculum?
A mixed opinion formed on the material used in the curriculum, indicates a level of dubious confidence of the existing system. When enquired about the results from current academicians about the results, they said that some locally written books are being used, however they are high plagiarized from the international authors and publications. This again is a matter that must be taken up seriously by the PMDC and HEC jointly in order to improve the quality of the graduate passing out from the dental college.
Should CME hour be mandatory for PMDC renewal?
While CME accreditation remains the only process to renew the license the practice in the developed countries, respondents in Pakistan show a mixed
response on the acquiring CME hours being mandatory to renew the practicing license.
Has PMDC made adequate arrangements for getting CME hours?
Displaying complete incongruity and disparity when asked about the arrangements for acquiring PMDC, 90% of the respondents disagreed with PMDC making any adequate arrangements for the dentists to acquire CME hours for accreditation.