CHRISMED Journal of Health and Research

: 2021  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 223--226

Faculty development programs in dentistry: The need and the way forward!!

Ritu Jain1, Anushi Mahajan2, Dinesh Kumar Badyal3,  
1 Department of Periodontics, Christian Dental College, CMCL-FAIMER Regional Institute, Ludhiana, Punjab, India
2 Department of Periodontics, Christian Dental College; CMCL-FAIMER Regional Institute, Ludhiana, Punjab, India
3 Department of Pharmacology, Christian Medical College and Spital; CMCL-FAIMER Regional Institute, Ludhiana, Punjab, India

Correspondence Address:
Ritu Jain
Department of Periodontics, Christian Dental College Ludhiana, CMCL-FAIMER Regional Institute, Ludhiana, Punjab


Oral health-care delivery in India is rapidly evolving given the increasing awareness about oral health among the public, advances in dental science and technology, and the demand for high-quality care. The dental workforce needs to be trained to develop the required skills and attitudes for delivering quality dental care. Modifications are required in the dental curriculum to accommodate the changing needs of the society. There is an urgent need to incorporate advances in educational methods and technology in dental teaching/learning to prepare future dental practitioners for real-world challenges. The conventional training of dental faculty in India does not involve any training in educational methods and techniques. Faculty development programs organized on a regular basis in the institutions can be very helpful in training the teachers in the latest and evidence-based teaching/learning methods. This article highlights the current status of faculty development initiatives for improving dental education and also makes suggestions to improve faculty training in Indian dental institutions for future.

How to cite this article:
Jain R, Mahajan A, Badyal DK. Faculty development programs in dentistry: The need and the way forward!!.CHRISMED J Health Res 2021;8:223-226

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Jain R, Mahajan A, Badyal DK. Faculty development programs in dentistry: The need and the way forward!!. CHRISMED J Health Res [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jul 6 ];8:223-226
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The changing face of dental care in India

The field of oral health-care delivery is evolving rapidly. Increasing oral health awareness among the public and growing demand for high-quality patient-centered care are paving the way for innovations in delivery methods that focus on reducing the cost of delivery while improving the care and outcomes. As a result, dentistry today is fast transforming into a highly professionalized service. To successfully perform in this changing scenario, a dental professional is required to play multiple roles to perfection. He should be a competent clinician, an efficient leader, a team player, an empathetic communicator, an active researcher, and above all, a lifelong learner. To be able to meet the changing demands of the profession, the oral health workforce needs to develop these requisite skill sets and attitudes. The purpose of education and training in any field is to ensure that on completion of the course, the individuals should demonstrate the desired outcomes and competencies required of that profession. Thus, the onus of training future dentists to practice in this challenging scenario lies with the educators. Keeping in mind the developments in oral health needs of the society as well as the technological advancements in dental science and also to respond to the changing educational needs of the current generation, we need to modify our curriculum and shift toward more effective teaching methods. With these requirements in mind, the Medical Council of India had previously made the basic course in medical education compulsory for all medical faculty in medical colleges.[1] With the introduction of competency-based curriculum in MBBS and MD/MS courses in 2019, the medical curriculum in India has taken a huge leap toward evidence-based health education. It is just a question of time when similar changes are introduced in the dental curriculum as well. The big question that needs to be answered is – “Are we as dental trainers well equipped to meet this challenge?”

Conventional dental education in India

Dentistry is largely a skill-based profession where along with amassing basic theoretical knowledge about dental diseases and their management, a graduate is also required to acquire essential clinical and procedural skills needed for effective patient care. In the past few decades, there has been a greater focus worldwide on using technology effectively to provide learning opportunities and experiences to students which will help them in transition to vocational practice. The conventional dental education and training in India, on the other hand, has largely focused on acquiring knowledge with a relatively less focus on developing the required skills. Although the students learn to carry out the basic procedure in the patients, a well-defined and structured training and assessment of higher order learning (at the shows how and does level) are lacking. Furthermore, components of the affective domain like developing the right attitudes, patient communication, and empathy that are highly essential areas for effective patient management are neither explicitly taught nor assessed at most dental schools. The advances in education and technology changing the health education scenario world over have been slow to penetrate the Indian curricula.

Some of areas where we may need to reform the Indian dental education include:

Defining and outlining clearly the outcomes and competencies that are required to be developed at the end of undergraduate trainingCurriculum modifications to ensure that these outcomes are met through education, training, and assessment processConsistent efforts to appraise our teaching workforce of the latest advancements in the field of education and training themRegular quality assurance inspections of dental education and training to evaluate if the training is in line with the desired outcomes.

Comparison with the developed countries

Comparing Indian dental education and training with the western world reveals that most of the advancements in the field of dental education have been limited to the dental schools in developed countries.[2] The last curriculum modification done for dental undergraduate course in India dates back to 1983. Over the last 25 years, the dental and educational sciences have witnessed a huge surge in new information, it is high time we review our curriculum and make the required changes to accommodate these new developments. Since faculty is the main resource for assessing and modifying the curriculum, the institutional administrations have a responsibility to plan and design faculty development activities to help the faculty gain knowledge in processes of development and evaluation of the curriculum according to the changing needs. The dental teaching workforce in India does not receive any formal training in teaching methods and technologies during postgraduation training. We have an age-old belief that a good student automatically becomes a good teacher. In contrast, the General Dental Council in the UK has set standards for dental educators and has made available a range of development opportunities for faculty and trainers involved in training all levels of dental undergraduates.[3] The fact that good teaching skills can be acquired through proper training and practice, although recognized by Indian dentists, has still not found wide acceptance among the fraternity. Thus, the dental faculty needs to continuously upgrade their knowledge and teaching skills and apply the newer techniques and methodologies into their routine teaching.

In this scenario, it is necessary for the faculty to participate in faculty development programs (FDPs) to update their knowledge and teaching skills to bring it up to the level of competency-based education. Evidence shows that it is feasible to train a large number of faculty in a country like India in a short span of time as it has been done for the medical faculty by the MCI.[4] In fact, a robust training program not only helped the medical faculty in training for basic education technologies like designing learning objectives, teaching/learning, and assessment methods but also prepared them to implement the new curriculum in a very short time.

Need for training dental faculty

In the current educational system, the role of a teacher has evolved to the one who facilitates the process of learning by stimulating critical thinking rather than merely providing information. Health-care training is increasingly becoming student centric with more emphasis on flexibility of the educational programs, focus on developing competencies, and use of interactive teaching methods. This means that not only the content of the dental curricula, but their delivery methods also need to change.[5] The role of technology in planning and delivering the educational content has increased greatly in recent times, especially with the ongoing pandemic. Without adequate knowledge and skills in these areas, we cannot expect our faculty to deliver quality education and training. FDPs organized on a regular basis for enhancement of various academic and professional skills can offer promising results for training the faculty as these can act as capacity-building exercises. There is strong evidence to prove the incorporation of FDPs in all health-care institutions for improving the academic performance of faculty with resultant enrichment of learners' knowledge and skills.[6] The regular training of medical faculty with the basic course in medical education, advanced course in medical education, and the revised basic course started 10 years before the new curriculum was implemented in MBBS. A total of 44,932 faculty have been trained in these workshops.[1] After the new curriculum was implemented in 2019, it was supported by a 3-day curriculum implementation support program for faculty that trained 15,509 faculty in 1 year.[7] This could be the way forward in other health professions courses and education.

To gather information about the exposure of dental faculty to medical education training and FDPs, we conducted a Google survey through social media and e-mails. The results of the survey were eye opening. Approximately 72% of the respondents stated that they had never attended any course or training program in health professions education and 63.2% reported not attending any FDP to update their teaching skills in the last 5 years [Figure 1], thus reinforcing the lack of exposure of the dental faculty to any kind of health professions educational training. Out of those who had attended such programs, 72% of faculty reported attending between 1 and 5 FDPs in the last 5 years to update their teaching skills. Approximately 75% of the respondents agreed that they need FDPs to update their academic skills [Figure 2] and this included responses from all levels of teachers. The areas where the majority of the respondents felt that they needed training were identified as interactive teaching methods, technology-enhanced learning, research methodologies, professionalism, and communication skills. The fact that three-fourth of the respondents have shown an inclination toward upgrading their academic skills shows the need for regular programs in dental education. Many (61.8%) of the respondents reported having a medical education or dental education wing in their institutions indicating the availability of resources required to organize such training programs within the institutions.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}

Role of stakeholders

One fact that was highlighted in the survey responses was the nonavailability of medical/dental education units within the institutions that was indicated by about 38% of the faculty [Figure 3]. The regulatory and accreditation bodies can play a major role here as they are accountable for aligning the workforce to the health needs of society.[5] To improve the feasibility and logistics of conducting regular FDPs for faculty, all dental institutions should be encouraged to set up dental education units and support FDPs.[8],[9] In this regard, the regulatory and accreditation bodies should ensure that these units are mandatorily set up at all institutions for continuous growth and upgradation of the human resources. In line with the developed countries, regularly conducted quality assurance inspections can help in evaluating whether the course produces graduates who demonstrate the required range of learning outcomes on completing their program. In addition, regularly conducted appraisal of educational roles of trainers and mentors can add value to the level of training in the country.{Figure 3}

The way forward

Training courses in medical education methods and other skill development courses for the dental faculty should be made mandatory by the Dental Council of India. Faculty should be encouraged to enroll for specialized training programs like FAIMER Fellowships which are available at four regional centers in the country.[10] Faculty development efforts can lead to a change in the dental curriculum in our country.[11] In institutes where dental and medical colleges co-exist, dental education units can be established with the help of trained medical faculty and efforts should be made at the institutional level to further train the dental faculty. These institutes can then, in turn, be the training centers for stand-alone dental colleges. Basic course in education methods should be mandatory for all dental teachers in dental colleges. A structured program should be started as soon as possible to train 35,496 dental faculties in the country in 313 dental colleges.[12] A central team can train 10–15 regional centers that can further train faculties of 20–30 dental colleges. The incentives for faculty participation in these training programs in the form of promotions and grants for educational projects and fellowships should be considered. The feasibility and utility of annual appraisal of the educational roles of trainers should be considered. The proposed strategy for training dental faculty is outlined in [Figure 4].{Figure 4}


The future of dental education in India lies in the hands of educators. Bringing about reforms in dental education will require leadership, changing perspectives, work styles, and creating harmony between all the stakeholders.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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