The Government has agreed to increase the number of
undergraduate domestic dentistry students at University of
Otago for the first time since 1961.
The increase from 54 funded places for domestic students to
60 places a year came into effect this year, vice-chancellor
Prof Harlene Hayne announced in university council papers
released this week.
The additional students were tagged for ''rural origin
students'', mirroring a similar provision in the university's
medical admissions to address health shortages.
Pro-vice-chancellor health sciences Prof Peter Crampton said
the Government agreeing to increase the domestic cap last
December was good news for both oral health in New Zealand
and the school of dentistry.
''It's fantastic news. I mean, we are the sole provider of
dental education in New Zealand, so all the domestically
trained dentists come through Otago.''
Increasing the number of students would help remove some
of the unmet oral health needs in the country - particularly in
''The evidence internationally is that students from rural
backgrounds are more likely to end up having some or all of
their careers back in rural areas.''
It was the first time the number of funded places had been
increased since 1961, and the number had been reduced in
1984, he said.
The university had made a number of unsuccessful approaches
to the Government for more places, so it was ''very happy
that this approach was successful''.
Prof Hayne pointed out the dental cap was one of three
subject areas directly determined for universities by the
Government. The others were for undergraduate medical
admissions and veterinary science.