Dental college students in Andhra Pradesh are up in arms after the state government permitted only candidates who studied postgraduation from government medical and dental colleges to apply for the post of Senior Resident at these institutions. Students claim that with only two government dental colleges in the state, a large number of students from private medical colleges will lose out on this post due to the aforementioned eligibility criteria.
With a total of 1,458 vacancies for the post of Senior Resident, the Directorate of Medical Education invited applications on November 13, 2022 from eligible candidates. However, this notification allowed only candidates who studied postgraduation in government medical and dental colleges of the state and local candidates to apply. “There are only two government dental colleges in the state — one in Vijayawada and the other in Kadapa. These institutions also only take 20 candidates, on an average, for PG seats every year. A few students might not have been able to take admission with such limited seats. So they would have taken admission in private colleges,” said Dr Manzur Ahmed, National President, All India Dental Students Association (AIDSA). “What will happen to these students?” he asked.
In a letter issued to the Directorate of Medical Education on November 17, the association stated, “Apart from the heavy competition for the very limited seats for PG we are also discriminated against a chance we couldn’t stand because of the seat shortage. Every student who has passed out of MDS should be given a fair chance to apply irrespective of the college they graduate from.”
Meanwhile, the students also point out that within the limited government dental colleges in the state, students do not have much choice with respect to the specialisation they choose. “There are eight specialisations within the PG Dental course. But the government colleges in the state do not have all these eight courses. They have only three to four,” stated Dr Swaroop, Vice-President of AIDSA AP.
According to media reports, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday, November 22 suspended the concerned notification issued by the state government. The court directed respondents to file their counter affidavits and posted the next hearing after four weeks, as per reports. “This suspension order is a good step but now the government has to file their response. We are planning on holding a strike in Visakhapatnam to raise our voice against this,” said Dr Manzur.
The tale in Telangana
A similar tale can be observed in Telangana which reportedly has only one government dental college. “We only have one government dental college in our state in spite of the day-by-day increase in our population and year-by-year increase in the number of dental students and private dental colleges,” the All India Dental Students Association Telangana stated in a letter addressed to the Minister of Health and Finance, Thanneeru Harish Rao. Taking this into consideration, the students have been requesting to add another dental college in the state.
Meanwhile, within the sole government medical college in the state, students highlighted a host of issues including the lack of availability of drinking water and student washrooms on the campus. “Students who are in their internship have finished six months of rotatory internship and are yet to receive one complete month’s stipend…We request you to grant stipend regularly,” the students stated in the letter.