KruševacChange of enrolment policy, educating students for the profiles which are in demand, alignment of theory and practice – those are the actions which, according to Kruševac dentists, would contribute to dentist offices obtaining the staff who – having acquired secondary school, college, or university, education –  possess the necessary and applicable skills and knowledge.

“Education to Employment” programme makes it possible for hard-to-place groups to find employment by acquiring suitable education and practical experience.

Dentist Dragan Rakić, owner of a private dental office, president of the Ras County Association of Private Medical and Dental Practices, said that enrolment policy at all levels is crucial for finding the solution.

“In Serbia, dentistry is studied at several state-owned and private university schools each of which most probably enrolls a thousand of students a year. Beijing, for example, has a population of 20 million and enrolls 120 dentistry students a year. This illustrates that we have a hyper-production of dental professionals in this country“, dr Rakić said.

With the professionals who have finished secondary school, however, the situation is completely different – at least that is true for Kruševac.

“Kruševac has a secondary medical school which enrols dental technicians and physiotherapist on alternate years although we need dental nurses. One can study to become a dental nurse in Niš, Belgrade, or Kragujevac – but not in Kruševac. Ras County has 78 private dental practices and none of them originally hired a single dental nurse but rather trained them on-the-job and retrained them. It would be better if a school department for dental nurses existed. People with that vocational profile would  find employment easier“, dr Rakić explained.

 

Private dental practices – dr Rakić added – would be willing to accept students for on-the-job training. But they would be also willing to help define a specific vocational profile.

“We should align theory and practice. Namely, the practice needs to keep track of the lessons which the students learn. This means that, considering that dental practices have different levels of technical capacity, private dental practices and the Health Centre should join forces to set up a Commission which would determine what students would be able to learn in what dental practice“, dr Rakić said and noted that dentistry has been moving at the speed of light in the last fifteen years.

 

Olica Badnjar, a dentist and the owner of “Eurodent joal“ dental practice, also believes that the members of the dental profession should have a say in the matter of enrolment policy.

“There are a lot of issues in which the members of this profession should have a say. However, that is not the case. A large number of dentistry students are being enrolled; the quality of graduates much varies; the duration of the studies is different in different places, which does not make sense. Moreover, dental practices are being opened without any control whatsoever. Namely, the Law allows everyone to start a practice as soon as he graduates. All this does not make sense and is detrimental to patients and dentists equally“, dr Badnjar said.

 

As a vice-president of the Supervising Board of the Serbian Dental Chamber she underlines that Dental Chamber does not have any authority in this regard.

Dr Badnjar confirms that Kruševac lacks a department for the education of dental nurses. She also mentioned that the problem is that students cannot have practical training in private dental practices which, according to earlier data providing by the Dental Chamber, employ slightly more than 60 percent of the total number of dentists.

Ten trainees were, within the “Education to Employment“ programme  given the opportunity of on-the-job training, namely training in Kruševac private dental practices, for the vocational profile of dental technician.

The owners of “Dr Simić“ and “Batiko“ dental offices and “Kreativ dental lab“ dental laboratory in which on-the-job training took place concluded that the education system, the number of enrolled students, the lack of on-the-job training, and the fact that the schooling system does not keep up with the technique and technology trends are only some of the reasons why  Kruševac has a shortage of trained dental technicians.

After the above mentioned training, Kruševac dentists set up, within the “Education to Employment“ programme, a working group which should identify the issues with regard to the education for dental profession, make an assessment of the skills needed within specific vocational profiles, and participate in the development of models for their education.