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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 82-90

Identification and analysis of dental education quality in Saudi Arabia


1 Department of Periodontology, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Endodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Date of Submission20-Aug-2022
Date of Decision13-Sep-2022
Date of Acceptance19-Sep-2022
Date of Web Publication27-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Badr Majed Othman
Department of Periodontology, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/KKUJHS.KKUJHS_27_22

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  Abstract 

Objectives: Saudization can be defined as recruiting and hiring Saudis in both the governmental and private sectors. This process is being introduced by the Ministry of Labor to reduce the number of unemployed. Lowering the unemployment rate from 11.6% to 7% is one of the new vision goals to be reached by 2030. The SERVQUAL model is used to assess customer perceptions of service quality in service and retail organizations through five dimensions: tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. This study aims to measure the effect of these quality dimensions on students' willingness to be and satisfaction being educated by Saudi faculty in dental colleges. The focus of this research is to determine which quality dimensions most affect students while being educated by Saudi faculty in dental colleges. The contribution of this research will help future research to develop strategic operational objectives to enhance education quality. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was performed. A total of 432 participants (198 male students and 234 female students) were included in the study. An electronic questionnaire with a scale from 0 to 5 using the SERVQUAL model was formulated. Results: The results were analyzed by the Statistical Package for Social Sciences software (SPSS, version 21, Chicago, Illinois, USA). The weighted scale was 4.01, 4.12, 4.03, 3.25, and 3.78 for reliability, assurance, accountability, empathy, and education quality of Saudi faculty, respectively. Furthermore, the weighted scale was 3.7 and 3.71 for students' satisfaction and student willingness to attend future lectures, respectively. Conclusion: Students had high agreement with the reliability, accountability, and education quality of Saudi dental faculty. However, the assurance dimension showed significant side effects on student willingness to attend future lectures. On the other hand, the empathy dimension showed significant side effects on participants' perception of satisfaction and student willingness to attend future lectures.

Keywords: Education quality, Saudization, SERVQUAL model


How to cite this article:
Othman BM, Alharbi MA. Identification and analysis of dental education quality in Saudi Arabia. King Khalid Univ J Health Sci 2022;7:82-90

How to cite this URL:
Othman BM, Alharbi MA. Identification and analysis of dental education quality in Saudi Arabia. King Khalid Univ J Health Sci [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 30];7:82-90. Available from: https://www.kkujhs.org/text.asp?2022/7/2/82/365757


  Introduction Top


The process of recruiting and hiring Saudis in both the governmental and private sectors is defined as Saudization. One of the new vision goals of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development is to lower the unemployment rate from 11.6% to 7% by 2030.[1] While it is a challenging transition, hardworking and well-educated Saudis can meet this challenge. The main service provided to the student is education. Education quality should meet students' expectations. Students' satisfaction rate contributes to the success of the academic institution.[2] However, service quality should be analyzed by measurable dimensions to determine a proper valid outcome. Customer perceptions of service quality in retail and service organizations are assessed by the SERVQUAL model. The assessment was done through five dimensions:[3] tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. Tangibility is the actual physical appearance of the facility or person. Reliability is the ability of the person to precisely accomplish the promised service. Willingness to promptly serve customers with the requested service is defined as responsiveness. Assurance is the courtesy and knowledge to communicate with confidence and trust. Empathy is the amount of attention and caring to the customers.[4] One of the sectors facing a challenge is the teaching sector in dental colleges. It is time now to see the outcome of the Saudi scholarship program through the Ministry of Education. Saudi dental demonstrators in many specialties are graduating from different schools all over the world after obtaining the highest degree in the specialty. The exposure to the top universities from different countries has made the outcome of this scholarship program unique and promising. An added value in teaching, clinical, research, and administrative aspects is expected upon the return of Saudi dental demonstrators and getting appointed as assistant professors. Saudi assistant professors are part of the academic faculty levels, in which they can be promoted after fulfilling the requirements to become associate professors and then full professors. Saudi faculty in dental colleges is well educated, trained, and talented. Their success in educating dental students and improving dental education is expected. However, dental students' feedback contributes to defining that success. Dental students are the main reason for the existence of dental colleges. This questionnaire study identifies and analyzes the educational quality provided to dental students by Saudi faculty in dental colleges. This study aims to measure the effect of the quality dimensions on students' willingness to be and satisfaction with being educated by Saudi faculty in dental colleges. The focus of this research is to determine which quality dimensions most affect students while being educated by Saudi faculty in dental colleges. The contribution of this research will help future research to develop strategic operational objectives to enhance education quality.


  Materials and Methods Top


Study design

In this study, a cross-sectional survey with a random sample of 450 students was performed. Among them, 18 participants were excluded due to lack of information, incomplete responses, or no prior education by Saudi faculty. A total of 432 participants (198 male students and 234 female students) were included in the study.

Survey conduction

An electronic questionnaire with a scale from 0 to 5 using the SERVQUAL model was formulated to measure reliability, assurance, accountability, empathy, education quality, satisfaction, and student willingness to attend future lectures in dental colleges among Saudi faculty. Zero is the lowest score, and a score of 5 demonstrated the highest agreement with the statement, as shown in [Table 1]. The questionnaire included information about sociodemographics and other relevant characteristics, including age, education, and gender. The questionnaire was sent electronically to students' e-mails, smartphones, and social media accounts all over dental colleges in Saudi Arabia.
Table 1: Scale of agreement

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Statistical analysis

Data analysis was performed by the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS, version 21, Chicago, Illinois, USA) software. Frequency distribution was used to describe the characteristics of variables. Associations between categorical variables were assessed by the Chi-square test. Statistical significance was considered when P < 0.05.


  Results Top


Our study included 432 subjects including 198 males and 234 females. The age of the participant ranged from 18 to 33 years, and the mean age was 22.9 years. The sociodemographic data are shown in [Table 2] and [Figure 1] and [Figure 2].
Table 2: Participant sociodemographic characteristics

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Figure 1: Participant sociodemographic characteristics - Gender

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Figure 2: Participant sociodemographic characteristics – Education level

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Gender had no significant difference when comparing males to females in all five dimensions on satisfaction and willingness to be educated by Saudi faculty [P > 0.05; [Table 3] and [Figure 3]].
Table 3: Statistical analysis by gender

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Figure 3: Dimensions influenced by gender

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Regarding educational level, for 2nd year students, 6th year students, interns, general dentists, postgraduate students, and dental specialists, there was no significant effect on any of the five dimensions on satisfaction and willingness to attend future lectures. However, for 3rd and 4th year students, the only statistically significant relationship was between the empathy dimension and willingness to attend future lectures (P < 0.05). Furthermore, for 5th year students, there was a statistically significant relationship between the assurance and empathy dimensions with satisfaction level and willingness to attend lectures [P < 0.05; [Table 4] and [Figure 4]a, [Figure 4]b, [Figure 4]c, [Figure 4]d, [Figure 4]e, [Figure 4]f, [Figure 4]g, [Figure 4]h, [Figure 4]i].
Table 4: Statistical analysis by education level

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Figure 4: (a) Statistical analysis by education level – 2nd-year students, (b) Statistical analysis by education level – 3rd-year students, (c) Statistical analysis by education level – 4th-year students, (d) Statistical analysis by education level – 5th-year students, (e) Statistical analysis by education level – 6th-year students, (f) Statistical analysis by education level – Interns, (g) Statistical analysis by education level – General dentists, (h) Statistical analysis by education level – Postgraduate students, (i) Statistical analysis by education level – Dental specialists

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Assessing reliability on a 0–5 scale, dental students agreed that Saudi faculty in dental colleges are reliable (4.01/5; 80.3%). Significantly more participants strongly agreed or agreed most of the time about Saudi faculty reliability [P < 0.05; [Table 5] and [Figure 5]].
Table 5: Dental students' feedback on Saudi faculty reliability

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Figure 5: Dental students' feedback on Saudi faculty reliability

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Assessing assurance on a 0–5 scale, the score for dental students in Saudi faculty assurance was 4.12/5 (82.5%). Significantly more participants strongly agreed or agreed most of the time about Saudi faculty assurance [P < 0.05; [Table 6] and [Figure 6]].
Table 6: Dental students' feedback on Saudi faculty assurance

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Figure 6: Dental students' feedback on Saudi faculty assurance

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Assessing accountability on a 0–5 scale, the score for Saudi faculty accountability was 4.03/5 (80.6%). Significantly more participants strongly agreed or agreed most of the time about Saudi faculty accountability [P < 0.05; [Table 7] and [Figure 7]].
Table 7: Dental students' feedback on Saudi faculty accountability

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Figure 7: Dental students' feedback on Saudi faculty accountability

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Assessing empathy on a 0–5 scale, the score for Saudi faculty empathy was 3.25/5 (65.1%). There was no significant difference among participants who strongly agreed or agreed most of the time about Saudi faculty empathy when compared with all other levels of agreement [P > 0.05; [Table 8] and [Figure 8]].
Table 8: Dental students' feedback toward Saudi faculty empathy

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Figure 8: Dental students' feedback on Saudi faculty empathy

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Assessing education quality on a 0–5 scale, the score for Saudi faculty education quality was 3.78/5 (76.6%). Significantly more participants strongly agreed or agreed most of the time about Saudi faculty education quality [P < 0.05; [Table 9] and [Figure 9]].
Table 9: Dental students' feedback on Saudi faculty education quality

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Figure 9: Dental students' feedback on Saudi faculty education quality

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Assessing overall satisfaction on a 0–5 scale, the overall satisfaction level with Saudi faculty was 3.7/5 (74%). Significantly more participants strongly agreed or agreed most of the time about overall satisfaction with Saudi faculty [P < 0.05; [Table 10] and [Figure 10]].
Table 10: Dental students' feedback on satisfaction with Saudi faculty

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Figure 10: Dental students' feedback on satisfaction with Saudi faculty

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Assessing the willingness of students to attend future lectures on a 0–5 scale, the score for students' willingness to attend future lectures by Saudi faculty was 3.71/5 (74.3%). Significantly more participants strongly agreed or agreed most of the time about their willingness to attend future lectures [P < 0.05; [Table 11] and [Figure 11]].
Table 11: Dental student feedback on their willingness to attend future lectures

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Figure 11: Dental students' feedback on their willingness to attend future lectures by Saudi faculty

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There was a significant difference in reliability, assurance, accountability, and empathy when compared with students' overall satisfaction (P < 0.05). In contrast, the education quality dimension did not show any significant influence on student satisfaction [P > 0.05; [Table 12] and [Figure 12]].
Table 12: Dimensions of influence on satisfaction

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Figure 12: Dimensions influencing satisfaction

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There was no significant difference in reliability, accountability, and education quality when compared with dental students' willingness to attend future lectures by Saudi faculty (P > 0.05). However, the assurance and empathy dimensions showed a significant influence on dental students' willingness to attend future lectures by Saudi faculty [P < 0.05; [Table 13] and [Figure 13]].
Table 13: Dimensions of influence on the willingness of dental students to attend future lectures by Saudi faculty

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Figure 13: Dimensions influencing willingness to attend future lectures by Saudi faculty

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  Discussion Top


Students' overall agreement with most of the dimensions was observed. This is an indication to tell Saudi faculty that they are welcomed and highly accepted by most of the students

Gender had no significant influence on any of the dimensions; this is probably due to the standardization of lecture distribution among dental colleges. Both genders are receiving the same educational content from one presenter.

Preclinical dental students did not show any statistical significance relationship among any of the dimensions, and this could be due to less engagement with Saudi faculty during these years. On the other hand, students' educational level significantly influenced both assurance and empathy on both overall satisfaction and willingness to attend future lectures by Saudi faculty. This may be due to direct involvement in the clinical years with the Saudi supervisors during the critical timing of the program. Furthermore, interns, dentists, postgraduate students, and dental specialists did not show any significant influence of any of the dimensions. This could be related to less participation by these students in the study. Furthermore, they have already graduated, are not under direct stress, and are more mature at this stage. Stress in dental students was related to clinical requirements, supervisors, and examinations.[5] Furthermore, the demanding nature of the clinical training in dental schools contributed to dental students' stress.[6]

There was a significant difference in reliability, assurance, accountability, and empathy when compared with students' overall satisfaction (P < 0.05). While the education quality dimension did not show any significant influence on student satisfaction, reliability, assurance, and accountability showed higher scores, and the link between these dimensions and overall satisfaction was established. However, empathy had more potential to show a decreased score and had a clearly established significant relationship with overall satisfaction.

There was no significant difference in reliability, accountability, and education quality when comparing dental students' willingness to attend future lectures by Saudi faculty (P > 0.05). Nonetheless, the assurance and empathy dimensions showed a significant influence on dental students' willingness to attend future lectures by Saudi faculty.

The amount of empathy of dental students was measured by the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE). Educators were advised to adopt communication teaching strategies to develop empathy and reduce the risk of decline.[7]

Different measures have been used to assess empathy in undergraduate students. These results demonstrated the ability of these measures to support students by providing feedback on their empathy.[8]

Direct interventions to improve ethnocultural empathy in health-care students showed a significant improvement on the Scale of Ethnocultural Empathy.[9]

Another study also showed a significant promising approach to improving dental students' empathy by person-centered care training, which was measured by the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire and JSPE.[10]

Among patients who participated in a psychological attitude questionnaire in Lebanon, 90% of them preferred doctors based on their empathy. Other important factors were academics (81%), professionalism (87%), and miscellaneous traits (86%).[11]

Faculty evaluation has been positively associated with the level of engagement and empathy by medical residents. Residents' engagement can lead to more understanding and a better faculty experience.[12]

Teachers' or supervisors' roles have been positively linked to the feedback and learning climate.[13]

Good clinical educators and faculty with high feedback who create a positive learning climate will be seen as good role models by their students and residents.[14]

Younger faculty members spend more time teaching and engaging with students. Teaching performance for those who attended teacher training programs is more likely to receive higher evaluation scores.[15]

Dental education quality can be influenced by multiple factors, it can be improved by accreditation.[16] Digital education stimulates students' interaction and enhances education quality.[17] The dental school's value and education quality can be improved by the implementation of the faculty development program.[18] Changes in the school structural level to improve teaching are suggested improving education quality.[19] Education quality improvement requires an understanding of different techniques using measurable quality outcomes.[20] Satisfaction of students improved by the implementation of advanced teaching methods such as a flipped classroom learning approach.[21] Engaging faculty to share their practice is effective in management strategy change and improved education quality.[22] Social responsibility and civic engagement during student education are important to reshape dental education. Quality of education is improved service learning.[23]

Faculty, partitioners, and dental students should be up to date with the new technologies and advances in dental science. This is a key for dental education revitalization.[24] Dental education quality assurance can be obtained by developing a worldwide electronic curriculum.[25] Reduction of error rates and wastage in dental school materials and equipment will reduce the cost and improve education outcomes.[26] Instructors communication with dental students will increase the level of understanding between them and improve student satisfaction.[27] Feedback of student learning experience can be improved with the delivery of various clinical teaching activities.[28] There were few published articles on the quality of dental education in past.[29] However, this has been changed recently as dental education research provides an improvement in technologies, quality, and effectiveness.[30] Therefore, this research will contribute as a starting point to develop future research with strategic operational objectives with a larger population number and more quality dimensions to enhance education quality.

It is recommended to involve faculty in different workshops and continuing education programs to improve their communication, assurance, and empathy skills. Knowledge and clinical experience with high academic degrees are not enough. Students may avoid accepting knowledge due to a lack of empathy and assurance.


  Conclusion Top


The perceived feedback from dental students is in high agreement with the reliability, accountability, and education quality of Saudi dental faculty, while the perceived assurance dimension showed significant importance on student willingness to attend future lectures. On the other hand, the empathy dimension showed significant side effects on participants' perception of satisfaction and student willingness to attend future lectures. Saudi dental faculty should be aware of the impact of assurance and empathy dimension on students' perceptions. Faculty continuous education and workshops are important to improve dental education quality.

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the Department of Periodontology, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Department of Periodontology, Faculty of Dentistry, Taibah University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7], [Figure 8], [Figure 9], [Figure 10], [Figure 11], [Figure 12], [Figure 13]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8], [Table 9], [Table 10], [Table 11], [Table 12], [Table 13]



 

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