Undergrad dental education set for major overhaul

Undergraduate dental education is likely to undergo a major overhaul with a mandatory one-year internship and a semester system on the lines of MBBS. According to the draft Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) course regulations, it will also have a credit-based system.

“The proposed changes to the undergraduate dental curriculum will completely change the way the course is taught and bring it closer to international standards. Various provisions like the credit-based system will also allow for international exchange of students in the future,” said Dr Anil Kumar Chandna, who is a member of the executive committee of the Dental Council of India, which formulated the regulations. He said the process for bringing in the changes have already started, with the draft regulations having been shared with states and national dental colleges.

Under the draft course regulations, it would take five-and-a-half years to complete BDS, including one year of internship. Presently, mandatory internship is not part of BDS. The draft also proposes that the current annual system be changed to a semester system, with medical training completed across nine semesters.

The new curriculum also proposes to follow a competency-based approach that is aimed at looking at the outcomes of the training. It will also assign credits to each course and offer choice based credits allowing students to pick certain electives. The new system will also allow for credit transfer among colleges.

The course will be divided into core subjects that a student has to mandatorily study, electives that the student can choose, and foundation courses. According to the draft, the foundation courses will be of two types — the compulsory foundation courses that will enhance the knowledge of the students and elective foundation courses that are for “man making”.


Aligning with global standards

The new curriculum seeks to make undergraduate dental education in India more aligned with international standards. The introduction of the credit-based system and other new proposals could also pave the way for international student exchange.

The curriculum will include courses such as medical bioethics among the core subjects and electives such as article writing, systematic reviews, sports dentistry, sleep medicine, forensic odontology, dental jurisprudence, social justice, environmental science, and yoga.

“Once the comments on the draft have been considered, and the regulations approved by the Health Ministry, it will be laid in Parliament. This is likely to happen soon and the revised curriculum may be introduced next session onwards,” said Dr Chandna. Workshops will be held across dental colleges to familiarise teachers with the new teaching method.


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