Bengaluru: Student strength in dental colleges is likely to be weak for this academic year. The low strength can be attributed to low job opportunities, relatively higher costing seats in the state, discounts offered by other states for dental seats, poor quality of education being imparted by the mushrooming new colleges.
Of the total 2,719 available seats, nearly 52% seats remained unfilled after the counselling conducted by the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA), got over. According to the authorities, the vacant lot was handed over to colleges and in all probability, some of them might have been filled. A further breakdown shows 43 of a total 938 government seats are vacant. On the other hand, 926(70%)of the 1292 private seats remain vacant, as well. The NRI and other quota picture is bleak, as well, with 457 of 489 seats not taken.
The management or other quota seat fee this year ranged between Rs.3 lakh and Rs.7.5 lakh per annum, while the government-quota seats cost 49,500 per year. Institutional quota seats were tagged at Rs.4.29 lakh per annum.
The college managements attributed many factors to this distinct drop in dental college ‘seat occupancy’ scenario. M.K. Ramesh, In-charge, Vice-Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS), blamed the weakened job opportunities as an important factor also. “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 to the Hindu.
A senior dental college faculty member spoke of numbers being another problem in the profession no longer remaining lucrative, besides the mushrooming sub-standard colleges that were unable to fill their seats.
It has also been observed that dental seats in other states were sold at a discount, which made several students opt for them with the help of their NEET qualifying 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 stated to the Hindu.