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The Global Experience: Expanding IMU’s Education to Dental Education Institutes in South Asia

18 Apr 2022

The Student Mobility Programme was introduced in IMU in 2007 with the main objective of giving students pursuing local undergraduate or postgraduate programmes the opportunity for some external learning opportunities locally as well as abroad. This includes understanding the culture, economic, political, and educational scenario in Malaysia. Similarly, IMU would like to give international students the opportunity to experience life in IMU/Malaysia, expand their intellectual and cultural understanding of Asia and interact with the local students. The programme was on-going until 2020 when the pandemic hit.


With the WHO’s declaration on 30 January 2020 that the evolving Covid-19 pandemic is a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” and a total lockdown starting 18 March 2020 in Malaysia, the university was temporarily closed. This has made experiencing actual/physical international mobility attachments an impossibility due to the travel restrictions and policies from IMU’s mobility partner universities and institutes in foreign countries. When the Covid 19 situation was not getting under control till May 2021, thoughtful changes were made to cater to foreign students who are interested in pursuing mobility activities by designing the distant teaching and learning programme on a virtual platform, an idea mooted by the IMU International Office. It was also intended to offer our IMU students a unique learning experience to participate, interact and share knowledge and experience with foreign students during these mobility electives.


The first virtual mobility programme targeting UNIMUS students and faculty, as a ‘Pilot Project’ was done with full discount on fees in June 2021 whereas during the second virtual mobility programme with Indian mobility partners, minimum fees was charged per student to generate revenue for School of Dentistry as well as international office in October 2021. Recently in March 2022, IMU School of Dentistry (SOD) in collaboration with International office successfully executed our third global experience programme for Indian mobility partner institutes from the western part of India namely, Karmaveer Bhausaheb Hiray Dental College and Hospital, Nashik, Maharashtra and Government Dental College and Hospital, Nagpur, Maharashtra. A total of 51 students from the Indian institutes and 15 students from School of Dentistry, IMU participated in this programme.



The opening ceremony on the first day of programme was followed by a virtual tour of Bukit Jalil campus, IMU by Dr Smita Nimbalkar.

The occasion was graced by
Prof Seow Liang Lin, Dean, School of Dentistry
Prof Dr Abhay Datartkar, Dean, Government Dental College and Hospital Nagpur, Maharashtra
Prof Dr Meenal Gulve, Dean, KBH Dental College and Hospital, Nashik, Maharashtra
Dr Smita Nimbalkar, Student Mobility Coordinator, School of Dentistry, IMU
Pn Rosbi Anum, Senior Manager, International Office



“This programme is to empower students and make them able to get a global perspective about dental education. This will set up a stage for the students to interact, discuss and learn from each other. I hope that the students would benefit from this programme immensely and get enticed to come and visit IMU physically” said Prof Seow Liang Lin, Dean of SOD, IMU while inaugurating the event.


School of Dentistry has taken the effort to introduce the international mobility students to several innovative homegrown teaching and learning methodologies. Hence, this programme was designed to give our faculty a platform for implementing and expanding their knowledge and skills across different student populations and faculty from mobility partner institutes to share perspectives about certain topics. Various research collaboration opportunities were generated for students and staff to progress and establish on multiple research fronts. The global experience programme in March 2022 spanned for two weeks from 14 March, 2022-25 March 2022 where teaching and learning session in line with the learning outcomes requested by mobility partner institutes were included.


The few learning activities undertaken by the Indian students include
Virtual OSCE. Conducted by Prof Seow Liang Lin and team to assess the international students on their knowledge, psychomotor skills, communication skills. Tutoring and feedback given by IMU students. Five stations, five lecturers, five students as tutor and five students as simulated patients.
Virtual Role Play. Conducted by Dr Yogeswari Sivaprasagam and team to simulate the clinical scenario in a pedodontics clinic. 8 IMU student volunteers played the roles of simulated patients and simulated dentists.
Virtual Orthodontic Clinic on “Buck teeth”: Interactive Way to Discuss the Diagnosis & Treatment Planning of Skeletal Class II Malocclusion by Dr Sivakumar Arunachalam.
CBL on Fully Digitally Guided Implant Surgery and Prosthetic Replacement by Dr Rohit Menon.


Positive and encouraging feedback about selection of topic, mode of delivery, quality of presentations and quality of lecturers was received by 98% of participants. Large number of participants will be enticed for a physical mobility visit to IMU when the Covid 19 situation improves. As far as sustenance and future networking is concerned, similar programmes can be offered to any university in the world in future to expand networking at multiple levels namely students, faculty, school, and university levels.


The Outcomes of this Global Experience are
Multiple future avenues in research collaboration between faculty and students of Karmaveer Bhausaheb Hiray Dental College and Hospital, Nashik, Government Dental College & Hospital, Nagpur & IMU
Engaging & successful inbound student mobility programme despite travel restrictions- Beneficial on University level- important criterion for ‘Setara’ ranking.
It also made an international platform available to students of SOD, IMU for interacting, sharing, tutoring, and mentoring with their international peers.


This can be claimed as a sustainable programme for the coming years even if the Covid 19 situation eases, especially for those students who are unable to physically visit IMU due to financial, health and family constraints.


Related article: IMU, Malaysia and UNIMUS, Indonesia Dental Students Gained Virtual Global Experience

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