CAG finds lapses in dental education

Slams health ministry for granting permission to dental colleges with inadequate infrastructure and faculty

By Sonal Matharu
Published: Friday 31 August 2012

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has criticised the Union health ministry for allowing 13 new dental colleges to start functioning despite the statutory body for dental education recommending against it.

Dental Council of India (DCI), the statutory body, had rejected licences of 13 new dental colleges after conducting inspections across the country. These colleges did not have enough medical, dental and paramedical staff and lacked infrastructure like college buildings, libraries, hospitals and clinical equipment like dental chairs.

Eleven of the 13 colleges moved Supreme Court. On directions of the apex court, the Union health ministry formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT), which pointed out deficiencies in five colleges. The ministry, however, granted permission to all the colleges.

Colleges health ministry allowed tofunction against advice
  • Aditya Dental College, Beed, Maharashtra
  • Hindustan Institute of Dental Sciences, Uttar Pradesh
  • Institute of Dental Sciences, Bhubaneswar
  • Maharashtra Institute of Dental Sciences and Research, Latur
  • NIMS, Jaipur
  • Nootan Dental College and Hospital, Gujarat
  • Rishiraj Kheer Dental College, Bhopal
  • Singhad Dental College and Hospital, Pune
  • Sofia Dental College, Trichy
  • PDM Dental College and Research Institute, Bahadurgarh
  • Vallinayaki Dental College and Hospital, Pondicherry
  • Vyas Dental College and Hospital, Rajasthan
  • Yogita Dental College and Hospital, Maharashtra
CAG, in its report made public on August 30, notes that the findings of SIT were very different from that of DCI’s despite their inspections being within two months of each other. CAG also slammed the ministry for allowing the colleges to start 128 post-graduate dental specialities in Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) courses. The ministry reasoned that the country was short of dental specialists. CAG points out that state governments had been informed earlier that a healthy number of students pass out of dental colleges with bleak job opportunities—about 25,000 graduates and 3,500 post-graduates.

From 2006-07 to 2010-11, as many as 139 students in six dental colleges and 59 students in nine colleges were admitted to Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and MDS courses respectively, exceeding the sanctioned number of seats. For instance, J K K Nataraja College in Tamil Nadu admitted 100 students in 2009-10 against the sanctioned 44 seats.

In 2007 and 2008, DCI had recommended de-recognition of BDS degrees of nine colleges for serious shortcomings in infrastructure, clinical equipment and faculty. The ministry did not de-recognise the degrees in five colleges till December 2011. In 15 colleges, shortage of teaching staff ranged from eight to 97 per cent.

CAG has also criticised DCI for not maintaining a record of colleges due for inspection. The statutory body is supposed to inspect recognised colleges once every five years. However, it inspected Punjab Dental College and Hospital in Amritsar in 2010-11, after a gap of 33 years.

CAG also found flaws in the Indian Dentists Register maintained by DCI. The register, that keeps a record of practising dentists in the country, had 21,362 entries. But many names and date of birth were repeated with slight modifications. The Permanent Account Numbers (PAN) were same.

Concentration of colleges

Highlighting a skewed picture of facilities for dental education in the country, CAG recommends that the ministry must ensure even distribution of colleges. Of the 292 dental colleges in the country, 52 per cent are concentrated in five states—Karnataka (44), Kerala (23), Maharashtra (35), Tamil Nadu (29), Uttar Pradesh (29). There is only one dental college in the Northeast.

The ministry had clarified this to CAG in June this year, stating that its role in granting permission for setting up colleges was limited because states have to take the initiative to approach the ministry to set up dental colleges.

DCI officials were not available for comments.

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