Minister of Health, Donville Inniss

In response to concerns that a number of students, who graduated in dentistry from the Mount Hope Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad, were failing a licensure examination set by the Barbados Dental Council to allow them to work here, Health Minister, Donville Inniss, on Wednesday met with stakeholders to identify a solution.

The meeting included senior officials from the Ministries of Health and Education; members of the Barbados Dental Council; Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Professor Samuel Ramsewak; Director of the School of Dentistry, Professor Paluri Murti; lecturers from the UWI School of Dentistry at St. Augustine; and Executive Director of the Barbados Accreditation Council, Valda Alleyne.

Minister Inniss noted that it was an "unfortunate situation" that students had found themselves in a position where after four of five years of dental studies, they returned to Barbados but could not practise their chosen profession.

The Dental Council administers the examination for all those persons who have completed a course of study at an institution that is not accredited or is accredited with conditions.

The Minister has directed that discussions should continue and that a site visit be conducted later this year to the campus by a Barbados delegation. He has also proposed a meeting with affected students upon receipt of a report on the matter.

Noting that for the period 2010/2011, Government had spent some $477,000 on 10 students in the programme. Mr. Inniss called for the stakeholders to develop a comprehensive approach towards addressing the challenges identified, through improved consultation and communication between the UWI and the Dental Council.??

The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development will also play a key role in the process, as it represents the Government on UWI matters.??

An assurance was given by those in attendance to bring an expeditious resolution of the matter.

According to the Dean of the school, Professor Ramsewak, Barbadian students did well in their studies at the School of Dentistry.?? In fact, he noted that during the period 2008/2009, Barbadian students recorded 16 passes and 11 honours.

Since its inception in 1989, the school has enrolled 421 students; 31 per cent of these are overseas candidates hailing from Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent,??Suriname, the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, and Botswana.??

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