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PMDC makes BDS 5 year against the wishes of dental Community

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LAHORE: In a surprise move the Executive Committee of the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC) has accorded approval to the proposal seeking increase in duration of the Bachelors of Dental Surgery (BDS) programme by one year, bringing it on a par with the five-year MBBS degree programme.

The last meeting held at the Governor’s house in Karachi was not attended in full by the VCs and PMDC President who were busy in their own meeting at Movenpic hotel and only attended the signing ceremony so all this has been done much before that and the meeting was just a cover-up as majority of the dental community there opposed it.

The major initiative was taken on the recommendations of all the four provinces with the stated purpose of adding to the worth of the BDS programme locally as well as internationally and mainly the move was backed by MBBS VCs. The move was opposed by majority of the dental community including President Pakistan Dental Association Dr Saqib Rashid.

Even the Governor Sindh advised caution in taking such a decision in haste and Dr Asim Hussain opined that the curriculum be upgraded rather than extended in a meeting of VCs held at the Sindh Governor’s  House  As a matter of fact Dr Asim suggested that even MBBS should be made 4 years through curriculum revision.

The scheme will be implemented from next year as the process of revising the BDS curriculum and syllabus as per international standards was in its final stage under a high level committee comprising PMDC and Higher Education Commission experts. Interestingly there is moratorium on new colleges because of faculty shortage and with one year increased more shortage will be seen.

The committee was also considering a proposal to include new and emerging subjects related to clinical and biological sciences in the BDS programme, a senior PMDC official said. Interestingly the subjects are already being taught and committee has given no consideration of removing Pakistan Studies and Islamiyat as there is no value addition whatsoever.

“The executive and dental committees of the Council have increased the BDS programme duration, taking into account the recommendations of vice-chancellors, experts and educationists associated with medical and dental education institutions of the country”, PMDC Registrar Dr Amjad.

The sole pretext that Pakistani BDS programme was not recognised by the USA and European countries and making it 5 year will enable students to go and work directly without having to go through local licensing which is most absurd as that is not possible under any circumstances. Local licensing or equivalency assessment is a mandatory thing.

In USA everybody has to sit National Board Dental Examination, USA, to apply in various American dental universities to do their DDS and to meet the license requirements to practice there. Making dentistry 5 or even 6 years will make no difference at all in terms of direct practicing by Pakistani dentists. If this logic is correct why has it not been done for MBBS as they have to do USMLE for the same purpose.

It seems PMDC is hell bent on making it five years without evaluating pros and cons of doing so. They are not even concerned about the lack of faculty when it comes to taking irrational decisions but has extended the moratorium on new dental colleges for lack of faculty. PMDC has given no thought on lack of payment for house jobs but are doing things in isolation.

The people in PMDC must understand that BDS or DDS does not guarantee practice rights but the programme contents and bilateral ties. The President PMDC in violation of PMDC is running two dental colleges in the same premises.

If this is implemented it will only be too massage the ego of medical doctors and the president PMDC as the majority of the dental profession out-rightly rejected it. The BDS may experience reduced enrolments as females may prefer to go into other disciplines rather than pursuing BDS. .

With majority of the dental colleges in the private sector this means that each student will now pay anywhere between half a million to 6 lacs which is an extra burden for parents.

In the meeting held in Governor house Sindh convened by VC LUMHS Jamshoro where majority of the senior dentists opposed the increased duration of the BDS programme and in case it is still done then there should be no additional charge for the extra year.

This decision will create more shortage of dentists in the country rather than increasing it which is the need of the hour so the logic behind this is best known to people who took it and imposing it on the entire dental fraternity against their wishes.

Instead of looking at the requirements of their own country PMDC is thinking to produce dentists for abroad.

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April 10, 2015

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Dental is part of the Medical News Group of publications which in 1968 became the pioneer of medical journalism in Pakistan. Medical News is the only periodical in Pakistan which has 3 simultaneous editions from Karachi, Islamabad and online.

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