BDS admission criteria

Letter October 01, 2022
BDS admission criteria


Currently, Pakistan has 72 private and 42 public sector medical colleges as well as 42 private and 17 public sector dental colleges. Majority of the private dental colleges are owned or governed by medical professionals as CEO or Directors. Therefore, our professional, academic and service priorities — being different — remain neglected and unaddressed.

This humble appeal relates to a recent decision taken by the Federal Health Minister and the new PMDC/PMC President whereby MDCAT pass percentage for admission to dental programme for 2022 has been lowered to 45%. We, the dental professionals, share our concerns about the unsuitable admission criteria along with a few other important academic matters.

1. Lowering the pass percentage to 45% for entering the dental profession is substandard and embarrassing. Quality should be given preference over quantity, and commercial interests be given a backseat. That dentistry is a manually dexterous oral health care profession and should not be treated as a second grade health care profession.

2. The existing 4-year BDS Programme needs to be upgraded to a new 5-year DDS Programme in line with the global trends. Mandatory 7 new dental specialties should be taught as teaching and examination subjects. Besides, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy and Nursing should be upgraded as 5-year programmes. The current 4-year BDS Programme can continue at dental colleges that are not interested in upgrading themselves.

3. There is need to set up a separate Pakistan Dental Council, consisting only of dental academics. Such a council should have a status equivalent to PMDC/ PMC to address our dental professional academic and licensing policy and other matters. This PDC should consist of representation from all provinces and serve as an independent national regulatory body.

4. All dental sections should be given a separate independent status as colleges, and should have dental faculty as its academic head/principal/dean and not any unrelated health care professional. Current in-service public sector dental academics, being a minority as compared to their medical counterparts, should be given leadership roles at all public sector national dental academic platforms.

5. There are reports that our current 4-year BDS graduates are faced with recognition issues in Saudi Arabia and other countries regarding job opportunities. The remedy lies in upgrading the programme to a 5-year DDS Programme.

We expect the relevant authorities to pay attention to our concerns.

Prof Shahjahan Katpar and 51 others

DUHS, Karachi

Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2022.

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