The European Commission has been conducting a public consultation in February 2024 in order to tackle the lack of a common framework in EU countries « for the design, delivery and award of joint degree programmes ».
The idea is not to create in the near future a legally binding instrument that should be common to all EU countries.
Instead, the idea is rather to create a context for interested universities that facilitates the possibility to deliver a degree joint and common to several institutions from Member States.
Professions with automatic recognition of qualifications such as the one of dental practitioners could greatly benefit from such an initiative on joint degree programmes.
For one single reason :
A mutual trust does not always accompany the automatic recognition of dental qualifications.
Differences in the training exists indeed among European countries whether :
-on duration (from 5 years in general to 6 years in Iceland, Italy, France),
-on hours (from a minimum of 5000h to a total of 6170 in Bulgaria, 8250 hours in Denmark, 9000 hours in Switzerland),
-or on access to clinical training (for instance : France (University of Rennes): 1900h in pairs. Finland (University of Turku): 1050 hours for individuals. Spain (two Madrid universities): 840 hours and 900 hours in pairs. See source 1 at the bottom of this article).
A joint degree between partner universities could be an instrument for overcoming those differences and, consequently, for facilitating the mutual trust on professional qualifications delivered by dental schools participating to a joint degree.
Especially since :
i)A minimum list of training items has been already set in EU law since 1978 (see Annex 5.3.1 of Directive 2005/36) and is under revision in early 2024.
ii)A much comprehensive and detailed list of competences to get by the end of a dental training has been already drafted in 2017, updated in 2023, by European academics and supported by dental regulators (its name : « The Graduating European Dentist » from the ADEE).
iii) Some existing university alliances in the European Economic Area cover the dental field.
In her State of the Union 2023 letter of intent, President von der Leyen highlights the joint European degree as a key priority for 2024.
It is also named as « a key flagship of the European strategy for universities ».
After the consultation, the EU Commission will « adopt a Communication on a blueprint for a joint European Degree that will present the objectives and possible avenues for setting-up a joint European degree ».
It looks like at the crossroads of the European Education Area and the European Health Union lays the prospect of a joint degree in dentistry.
Source 1 :
« La formation initiale des chirurgiens dentistes en Europe : comparaison à travers l’analyse des modèles espagnol, finlandais et français », (Initial training of dental surgeons in Europe: a comparative analysis of the Spanish, Finnish and French models), Alexiane Launay, Clémence Moreau, Thèse d’exercise, Sciences du Vivant [q-bio]. 2017. dumas-01812592.