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European Education Area & dental clinical training during Covid-19: an ambition to pair

Cedric Grolleau , Federation of European Dental Competent Authorities and Regulators (FEDCAR), Belgium.

For the first time, the European associations of teachers (ADEE), students (EDSA) and regulators (FEDCAR) in dentistry have joined forces to sign a joint declaration on the delivery of clinical training during a pandemic. They ‘want to reassure the public that measures are being taken to ensure students are safe when they graduate’.

Covid-19 has impacted the academic timeline and disrupted the training of health professionals, in particular the clinical training of dental students since it ‘requires the use of equipment and procedures that create aerosols, working in close proximity to patients’ mouths, heightened protective measures are therefore required to prevent the spread of Covid-19’. In September 2021 dental schools are now back open and functioning although still with Covid precautionary measures and some teaching adaptations in place. It is therefore ‘important for academics to conduct further research into the efficacy of new safety measures, while both students and academics evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of adaptations to drive continual improvement ’.

The joint declaration also refers to two important notions for the training of health professionals: the ‘Europe of Health’, widely praised in 2020, and the soon expected ‘European Area of Education’. ADEE, EDSA and FEDCAR hope they will not be simply theoretical programmes and call for these initiatives to be grounded in the practicalities of ensuring the training of safe graduates in dentistry across Europe.

Since officially ‘the Commission is fully committed to achieving the European Education Area by 2025 and calls upon the other European institutions, member states, the education and training community and all those for whom education matters, to join forces and rejuvenate together the power of education’ , academics, regulators and students in dentistry answer this invitation with their joint declaration. They call for the European Education Area's ambition to be adapted to the challenging situation, and to ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to safeguard the high-quality education of present and future generations of oral health professionals.