Dr. Janet Grant, a UK expert on medical education delivered a lecture on “Thinking about improving Medical Education” which was organized by Health Profession Education of the National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) at the Army Medical College(AMC). The occasion was graced by Principal of AMC Maj Gen Farrukh Saeed HI(M) (Retd), NUMS’s Pro Vice Chancellor Academics Maj Gen Saleem Ahmed Khan HI(M) (Retd), Maj Gen Khalid Naveed (Retd), Principal Wah Medical College, Maj Gen Imran Fazal (Retd) Principal of Foundation Medical College, Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities NUMS, Prof. Azam Chaudhary, Prof. Aamir Shahzad Director Academics Clinical, Dean Multidisciplinary Studies Dr Aisha Mohyuddin, Dr. Ayesha Rauf Head of Department of Health Professions Education and other senior members of faculty of the university.
The focus of Prof. Grant’s talk was curriculum and factors affecting its design and implementation for achieving the best outcomes. She explained that the curriculum is a dynamic entity, greatly influenced by the unique context of each country which is influenced by educational and culture beliefs, health service context, resources available, admission criteria, course, career and training structures. Curricular models, teaching and learning methods, assessment methods and systems and most importantly accountability, regulation and central control are some other influences that need to be catered for in the preparation of curriculum.
Prof Janet was of the view that with so many variables to cater for, a single solution to the problems being faced by medical educational institutes world over is not possible. What is important is that the basic issues are identified and solutions are worked out which are tailored to that particular context and the challenge is to ensure compliance with the regulatory bodies.
Prof Janet explained that a curriculum is an ideological, administrative and practical instrument for teachers, students, managers and regulators. The curricula should reflect the vision and values of the institutions and comply with national needs and be continually reviewed and improved. She said principles of psychology of learning should be incorporated while designing and implementing curricula. She lamented the fact that theories about learning are ignored, misunderstood and often misused in medical education which often leads to poor decisions about curriculum and teaching and learning. It is important that Medical educators must understand the nature of theories and evidence in education for better educational design decisions that are relevant to the profession and its context. She emphasized that learning is an incremental, developmental cognitive process and integrated knowledge for problem solving is the result of structured learning applied in practice. Memory plays a central role in learning and it is enhanced by ensuring that basic sciences and the Clinical skills are learned in a structured way. She also said that learning should offer contextualization through clinical cases. Early clinical exposure e.g. in primary care and giving opportunities to apply knowledge are the other key factors for ensuring that appropriate learning has taken place.
Principal AMC Maj Gen Farrukh Saeed in his concluding remarks praised Janet Grant for delivering a thought provoking lecture which touched many areas of debate in the medical education. He also presented a souvenir to Prof Janet Grant on the occasion.