FIJI DENTAL GRADUATES WITHOUT JOBS

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Apr. 6) - After years of intense study, 11 dentists who graduated from the Fiji School of Medicine last year are still without jobs.

Health chief executive officer Dr. Lepani Waqatakirewa said there were no posts available for them.

Of the 15 students who graduated from the medical school’s dental program, only four are in paid employment.

"The four are in service graduates of the Health Ministry; they were dental therapists who have now graduated as dentists," said Waqatakirewa.

Of the remaining graduates, three studied on Public Service Commission scholarships, one was on a Fijian Affairs Board scholarship and seven were private students.

Waqatakirewa said on many occasions, sponsorship of further education at FSM was awarded without considering the needs of the workforce, particularly the Ministry of Health.

"There are no posts for them and we are working on a proposal to get them in the system to work at least," he said.

The ministry was considering whether to offer the graduates posts as dental therapists, said Waqatakirewa.

April 7, 2005

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