Postgraduate dentistry aspirants upset over delay in counselling

They have no avenues for jobs either as due to pandemic clinics have shut down

Four months after qualifying for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for postgraduate programmes in dentistry, candidates are still awaiting the counselling schedule.

With the Prime Minister announcing that NEET PG for medical students would not be announced till August 31, the counselling for dentistry students has also been indefinitely postponed.

The aspirants have approached all agencies — from the National Board of Examinations to the Medical Counselling Committee and the Dental Council of India (DCI).

“We took NEET in December and the results were announced 20 days later on December 31. Postgraduate counselling should have been held in February,” said Balasubramaniam Shankar, who stood third in the country in NEET. Aspirants have since sought information on delay in counselling through the Right to Information Act but in vain.

A dentist from Rajapalayam said: “It has been announced that students will get a month to prepare after the notification for NEET PG (for MBBS students). If one more month gets added then it could be November or December before we join the courses. The counselling will begin may be a month later. By then we would have wasted a year of our career. There are many students who have dropped a couple of years to pursues postgraduate studies. The delay hurts them the most.”

With dentists advised not to take up procedures they have been denied employment avenues too. “Private clinics have not appointed fresh graduates as they cannot afford to pay them with no patients coming in. I am in a rural area where consultants, who are generally MDS graduates, come from urban areas once or twice a week to attend to patients. Since the consultants are not coming, all treatments have been cancelled. Only basic emergency and pain relief treatment is provided,” he said.

Dr. Balasubramaniam said, “Even if the software is common, how is it going to affect our admissions? There would be an option in the software where we should be able to select either for MDS or for MD/MS.”

State topper P. Menakhasundhari said she had contacted the Indian Dental Association State chapter officials requesting their intervention. “Counselling has to be conducted by March and there is no issue as counselling is an online process. The delay in conducting NEET PG has been announced. Give us a timeline for MDS counselling.”

She said in each State students had approached the respective IDA chapters hoping for relief. A member of the DCI, Anil Kumar Chadna said counselling was not under its purview. When pointed out that the DCI could take up the students’ concerns with the MCC, he said the issue would be discussed in the council’s next meeting. On the schedule of the meeting he said, a decision in that regard would be taken in a few days. The council would decide on writing to the counselling authorities about the students’ worries, he added.

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