Perceptions on dental education amongst undergraduate students and dental interns in Kenya
Background: Training environments in dental schools across the world do vary, and some have been suggested as potential causes of stress among dental students.
Design and objective: This was a cross sectional study designed to investigate perceptions of dental students and dental interns regarding aspects of dental training environment in the two dental schools in Kenya.
Methods: Data was collected through self-administered questionnaires containing open and close ended questions that explored participants’ perception on teaching facilities, curriculum, learning methods and students’ social life.
Results: Most (79.5%) participants felt that their earlier decision to join the dental profession was still their best choice. Passion for and interest in dentistry increased over time during dental training, especially among males (80%) than was among females (65%), and among Moi University students (82%) than was among University of Nairobi students (66%). The main reasons for the increase were exposure to clinical work and influence by lecturers. Most respondents preferred practical teaching methods (89%). Moi University participants were more satisfied with the number of students per class. Courses that participants felt had adequate allocation of teaching time included human anatomy (64%), dental materials (28%) and periodontology, whereas the most challenging courses were human anatomy (44%), oral pathology (41%) and biochemistry 35%.
Conclusion: The training environment in Kenyan dental schools did not affect the desire to belong to the dental profession. Practical teaching was the most preferred teaching method, and there was a tendency to prefer courses that adopted this method in their teaching.