Bengaluru

State’s dental colleges need filling

Experts say the demand for dental seats was at an all-time low this year.

Experts say the demand for dental seats was at an all-time low this year.  

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College managements blame high fees and lack of job opportunities for the seat vacancies

With over half of their seats vacant, many dental colleges in the State are staring at a rather bleak student strength this academic year. College managements attribute this problem to lack of job opportunities for dentists as well as the relatively high cost of seats in Karnataka compared to other States.

Nearly 52% of the total 2,719 seats available during counselling conducted by the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) remained vacant. KEA officials said the vacant seats were handed over to colleges, some of which may have been filled.

A further break-up revealed that 43 seats of the total 938 government and government-quota seats were vacant, while 926 (70%) of 1,292 private seats remained unfilled. As many 457 of 489 NRI and other quota seats were also not taken.

The fee for management quota seats, now known as the ‘other quota’, ranged between ₹3 lakh and ₹7.5 lakh per annum, while the government-quota seats were priced at ₹49,500 per year. Institutional quota seats were priced at ₹4.29 lakh per annum.

But it is not just the high fee that is to be blamed, said college managements. M.K. Ramesh, in-charge Vice-Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS), said job opportunities, or the lack of it, was also an important factor. “Many dental students are unable to find jobs. Besides, there are too many dental colleges that have come up over the past decade and the quality of the colleges too is poor,” he said.

A senior faculty member in a dental college also pointed out that there were too many dentists and the profession was no longer lucrative. He added that there were quite a few “substandard colleges” that were unable to fill seats.

‘NEET, discounts on seats to blame’

While there has been poor demand for dental seats for the past few years, experts said this year was at an all-time low. Dental college managements are attributing this to the common counselling under the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test. They also pointed out that dental seats in other States were sold at a discount, which made several students opt for them using their NEET scores. “Agents also pursued students and convinced them not to take seats under the private quota and promised cheaper management quota seats at almost a 30% discount,” the principal of a city-based dental college said.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 2:58:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/states-dental-colleges-need-filling/article20005669.ece

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