Action-plan and examples of good practice in curbing orruption in our dental education systems:
DOCTORS AGAINST CORRUPTION intend to enable policies and measures that produce visible results in the short run are likely to generate public support/fratrenity support for further, and more complex reform measures.
Trying to include approaches that produce visible/tangible results within
Short term - and comprise of measures that focus primarily on the education system itself
Medium term - measures that fall into the domain of systemic reform and
Long term - These approaches are not mutually exclusive, but should be understood as complementing and reinforcing each other.
Short term visibility:
There is thus an urgent need to strengthen awareness in order to not only clearly establish the link between corruption and the inadequate provision and quality of dental education, but also in order to highlight areas in which forums such as ours can actively make a difference .
Educate dental teachers, students and parents to inform them of their rights, their obligations, like the standards of service to be expected of teachers and of who to turn to in case of perceived wrongdoing.
Again, DOCTORS AGAINST CORRUPTION could itself engage in such programmes, or instruct other, national, organisations to do so on its behalf.
Medium term visibility:
Access to information is the basic prerequisite for the effective accountability of office-holders to the general public.
Improve accountability structures applicable to teachers and those associated with the education system(regulatory,university) in an effort to reduce corrupt incentives by increasing the risk of being caught.
Since the professionalism and the performance dental education depend not only on the institutions, but also on the people who staff them, a good formal framework needs to be supplemented by qualified and motivated personnel. The institutional arrangements for selecting, promoting and dismissing staff are crucial to the functioning of the educational sector in the intended way. A meritocratic service in the Regulatory is less likely to be prone to corruption than one based predominantly on political appointments, and an important step for the government could thus be to discuss ways to strengthen meritocracy within the body (DCI) and among teachers with all stakeholders(Pvt Managements) in order to bring forward sustainable change. Meritocratic reform needs to be complemented by efforts to sensitise all officials to professional corruption and misconduct.
Any shift in attitudes can only be sustainable if supported by the general public. DOCTORS AGAINST CORRUPTION plans awareness raising and programmes targeting different sections of society to highlight the problems associated with corruption and to instil into citizens a sense of pride our nation's traditional integrity as well as of rejection of corrupt behaviour and those practising it, can thus be expected to act in favour of lasting change.
he problems related to Dental Education in India are as follows:
Full-time faculty working part-time or not at all: Some faculty who are full-time [especially belonging to the younger generation] show very little interest in teaching. Just come and go – reasons for this:
- It does not matter whether one performs their duty or not – because you get paid any way! [Even those who are initially interested lose interest when they see others who “show” as if they are working and get accolades whereas those who are actually sincere are ignored!]
- No incentive for doing anything beyond one’s duty! Management does not notice it, Principal does not acknowledge it, students do not appreciate it.
- No senior faculty member to guide /motivate / direct them.
Part-time faculty: Though there are a few part-time faculty members who do justice by giving good lectures and demonstrations on the days they visit, there are problems:
- Teaching is not just giving good lectures and demos. A teacher should be available for the student to approach on others days also.
- Departments can improve in their standards [in teaching students and treating patients] if faculty are full-time.
- A visiting senior faculty member cannot set a good example to juniors. The junior staff, most of the time are just waiting to become readers or professors so that they can also come visiting like their HODs!
- Most of the part-time faculty do not contribute to the college – no lectures, no demos – they just come, have a nice time, gossip, get a nice salary packet and leave – who would not want to lead such a life? They have their cake and eat it too! – i.e., income from clinical practice as well as faculty job.
- Some colleges have faculty only on paper!
Most of the staff blame the students [and their attitude] for their performance [or lack of it] in examinations. The students of any generation are [at least initially] interested in passing exams and not gaining knowledge. It is the faculty who should inspire them to become true learners. But unfortunately, right from their first year of study, students are made to realize how to pass exams with least amount of effort. The students of today do not respect most of their teachers – why? Because they do not know them or do not have any rapport with them. Students have realized that they have to be passed in the exams because:
- On most occasions the examiners are staff who are visiting [being senior]! They do not know their students and therefore they pass everyone to be on the safer side.
- The staff pass students to keep the Management happy by showing “good” results or do not like to incur wrath from their paymasters.
- Since the teaching is sub-standard / not enough patients, students feel they cannot be held responsible if they perform below standards in the examinations. To avoid confrontation, the staff appease them by passing them.
- Some students feel that since they have paid huge amounts to get admission, they have the right to pass even if it is wrong!
Most managements are interested in achieving a profit from their investment. Cannot blame them…they are businesspersons. Many have commented that mgts trouble the staff by not giving their relieving orders and so forth. Who is responsible for this situation? Our fraternity! When there were rules about minimal staff requirement, some of our own dental fraternity have insisted that they will visit college for a certain number of days and that they need a specific amount. Mgts have been blackmailed by the staff and they have, in turn, also started blackmailing the staff! With respect to dental education, the problems by the mgt are as follows:
- Intrusion into dental education – asking staff to show good results by passing students [or sometimes ordering them to fail some students!].
- Not providing good infrastructure [in some institutions].
- Interfering with administration of the college by the Principal.
- Providing admissions to students [for Mgt category] solely on the basis of payment!
- Not recognizing the efforts of staff who are working sincerely.
- Discrepancies in salaries to the staff of the same cadre.
We cannot blame the DCI alone for the present situation. Some of the proposals of DCI were good, but somewhere some things went wrong in implementation. To name a few:
Publications: If DCI had not insisted on publications, please tell me how many of us would have published articles otherwise? The intentions were good but execution was faulty. What went wrong with this directive was that:
- Not insisting on peer-reviewed indexed journals right from the beginning – this has led to mushrooming of so-called journals with sub-standard articles, plagiarism and some editors making money.
- Insisting on first author.
- Not giving sufficient time to implement this rule.
- Ignoring the experience of a PG guide. Someone who has been guiding PG students for more than 25 years suddenly gets derecognized just because the guide does not have any publication as the first author [the guide may have numerous publications as second author, the PG student guided being the first author – but these were not taken into consideration].
Minimal requirement of staff is essential for any college to function properly. However, what happened was that true teachers [those with experience and interest in teaching] were less than the need…So colleges started recruiting visiting staff and started showing them as full-time to satisfy DCI requirements. The discrepancy in the staff::college ratio resulted in lucrative business for dentists without teaching experience to become teachers [some resorting to illegal means to get experience certificates] to earn a steady income without having to do much.
A good infrastructure is mandatory for any institution to perform properly. But some of these requirements are unreasonable.