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Students in Tamil Nadu are fast losing interest in dental courses, just as it happened in the case of engineering colleges. When counseling ended this year, 30% of BDS seats were lying vacant in self-financing dental colleges.

The application form for joining in both MBBS and BDS is the same and there is a single ranking list. Those who do not get engineering seat typically opted for dental courses. After NEET examination became compulsory for admission to MBBS and BDS courses, many students who do not get MBBS admission are not taking up BDS, but are preparing for writing the NEET examination again so that they can get more marks and join MBBS. This has resulted in more vacant seats in BDS courses, say some educationists.

“As per the existing system, BDS students who have arrears in any of the subjects in a year cannot continue their studies in the next year, and can do so only after clearing the subjects in arrears. This not only extends the duration of their study but also makes them pay more fees for completing the course. This is one reason for declining interest in the BDS course,” says Dr G R Ravindranath, secretary of the association of doctors for social justice.

“It will cost more than Rs 6 lakh a year for studying in a private dental college. Those who spend this much to get a BDS degree and join private hospitals are paid a salary of merely Rs 15,000 and a maximum of Rs 25,000 in the initial stages. The returns are just not there for the investment they make,” he says.

“There is a real need for more dentists in our country. But still, students who have done BDS do not get full-time jobs in government hospitals. There should be reduction of fees for the students in the self-financing dental colleges; and, also, new job opportunities should be created for students qualifying for BDS in government hospitals”, he adds.

Last year, even after all the seats under the government quota got filled, as many as 265 seats under the management quota remained vacant.

As the course fees in the government dental colleges is less, there are no vacant seats there, just like last year. However, the Medical Education Directorate sought for and obtained applications from students for the BDS course again, for filling the 264 seats that remained vacant under the government quota and the 600 vacant seats under the management quota, this year.

The counseling for this year got over on Monday, and it has been found that 35 government quota seats in self-financing colleges are remaining vacant, and 505 seats under the management quota are vacant. The directorate will grant permission to the managements of the respective dental colleges to fill these 540 seats based on NEET examination marks. Private dental colleges are considering slashing their fee to entice students.

Information on how many BDS seats are vacant in deemed universities is unavailable.

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