Inter-University Boards being established to ensure uniformity in curriculum and assessment of postgraduates

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Structured University Residency Programme being finalized
Inter-University Boards being established
to ensure uniformity in curriculum and
assessment of postgraduates
Prof. Gulshan Ali Memon elected President
of National Inter-University Board while
Prof. Umar to head the Curriculum Committee
External Examiners to be invited to ensure
international recognition of university degrees

LAHORE: University of Health Sciences Lahore recently organized a Convention of Master of Surgery, Doctor of Medicine and Masters in Dental Surgery to discuss the reforms needed in these programmes. It was attended by Vice Chancellors of Public Sector Medical Universities from Punjab as well as Sindh province besides Principals of medical colleges and postgraduate students. This Reforms Committee was constituted by Vice Chancellor of UHS. The convention decided to establish Inter-University Boards to ensure uniformity and standardization in University Residency Programmes as well as assessment of the postgraduate students. Examiners from overseas will also be invited to ensure that these university degrees get international recognition. Prof. Gulshan Ali Memon Dean Peoples Medical and Health Sciences University Nawabshah from Sindh Province was elected as President of the National Inter-University Board while Prof. Asad Aslam Chief Executive Officer of Mayo Hospital Lahore was elected Secretary of this Board. Prof. Javed Akram VC UHS will head the Punjab Inter-University Board. Prof. Muhammad Umar Vice Chancellor of Rawalpindi Medical University was elected as Chairman of the Curriculum Committee.

Speaking at the convention Prof. Gulshan Ali Memon from PUMHS Nawabshah gave historical background of MD and MS degrees, rational of establishing the Inter-University Boards and pointed out that high standards can be achieved by improving the present conditions with input from all the stake holders. Inter University Board (IUB), he further stated will give equation in all the provinces while it will also provide a permanent system of support for university degrees. IUB will provide a wide range of opportunities to the postgraduates and it will also help in recognition of these university degrees including MS, MD, MDS and M. Phil worldwide. Tracing the history of these university degrees, he pointed out that they were started at Calcutta in 1822, Hyderabad Sindh in 1847, at Lahore Medical School in 1860 and at Lahore Medical College in 1886. MS, he further stated was not only a research but also a clinical degree. MS programme was started by University of Punjab in 1914. We need to encourage these university degree programmes. Basic Medical Education, Postgraduate Medical Education and Continued Professional Development are some of the important components of university. These programmes will be recognized by the Higher Education Commission and not by the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council. We also plan to liaison with all other institutions including College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan, Royal Colleges of UK. We plan to maintain highest ethical standards in medical education in Pakistan. He advised his colleagues and postgraduates to develop self confidence and stop comparing themselves with others.

It was followed by an excellent comprehensive presentation on University Residency Programme by Prof. Muhammad Umar Vice Chancellor of Rawalpindi Medical University. The programme covers rotation in different specialties, standardization, outcome which are all covered in this competency and outcome based curriculum. It was prepared after looking at the curriculum developed by CPSP, World Federation of Medical Education and ECFMG programme in USA.

Continuing Prof. Muhammad Umar said that uniformity and standardization of university residency programmes was being discussed for the first time. Now paid jobs for MS, MD students have been increased upto 50% while the other 50% is for FCPS. Curriculum will be developed for basic sciences as well as clinical sciences. There will be uniformity in the curriculum. Formative assessment will have weightage in the final examination. Similarly Block examination will also have some weightage in the final examination. There will be rotation in all the related specialties and every postgraduate will follow that. University of Health Sciences, he further stated will be the central university while all other five medical universities in the province of Punjab will be the satellite centers. It is just a matter of time that the whole system will be put in place.

Prof. Javed Akram VC UHS remarked that the whole curriculum will be reformed and standardized. The curriculum committee headed by Prof. Muhammad Umar will get input from all the stake holders and then it will go through peer review. UHS has already notified Specialty Advisory Committees in twenty nine disciplines. These committees which consist of five faculty members each would draft recommendations with regard to revision and upgradation of the curriculum, audit of theory and practical examinants for relevance, quality and standards in the light of feedback from the trainees. He also gave details of monitoring and implementation of the university examination calendar.

Prof. Umar hoped that the new curriculum will be fully introduced and finalized by 2020. The curriculum which he had prepared was already being implemented at Rawalpindi Medical University. He further opined that the assessment and Evaluaiton of university residency programme and curriculum will be evidence based. Evaluation, he said, is a continuous plan while the assessment is the outcome. Evaluaiton is used for assurance and further enhancement, improvement of the training programme. There will be a system of getting feedback from the residents and counseling of residents. Research and Workshops will also be a part of the curriculum. Department of Medical Education will coordinate between trainees and the supervisors. There will be a special three month slot of rotation for research and during this period the trainees will not go to the OPD, Wards or Emergency but just concentrate on Research. The trainees will be guided and monitored. The marks of this three months rotation in Research will be added in the final examination. The system being proposed will be transparent and the postgraduates will know how many marks they have earned through different rotations, programmes. In fact it will be a self assessment by the postgraduates. The supervisor will certify the continuous evaluation. This assessment, Prof. Umar said was also structured. The residents will be evaluated by three nurses, patient attendants apart from the assessment by their supervisors. Prof. Khalid Cheema remarked that there will be internal assessment of the Residents after every three months.

Some of the recommendations which were made after the Convention suggested that provincial Inter-University Boards will prepare a uniform curriculum for university residency programme which will be implemented by all the medial universities and colleges in the province. In future the word University Residency Programme will be used instead of MS, MD and MDS programme. However the degrees will be known as MD, MS and MDS. There will be a committee which will prepare uniform curriculum for basic sciences programme of the universities and colleges will send their nominations. It was also proposed that rotation programme for different disciplines would be available on the university websites, supervisors and candidates will be informed regularly by the Registrar office. The public sector medical universities will also offer MD in Nephrology. The Registrar of the medical universities will notify the rotational duty for each and every postgraduate. Curriculum for clinical disciplines will be prepared by Prof. Muhammad Umar VC RMU. It will also prepare the curriculum for basic sciences. International observers will be invited to witness the university residency programme and examinations which will help in its international recognition. A uniform and standardized assessment system will be prepared for all the medical universities. The supervisor will have a minimum role in the final examination of their candidates and external examiners may be invited from other provinces. The meeting also proposed a mandatory regular audit of examinations and the feedback from the examiners as well as candidates. A committee will overlook the quality and originality of the ongoing research at various universities. This committee will also propose recommendations for inclusion of foreign evaluation in panel of examiners/thesis evaluators. This committee has been asked to submit its recommendations within sixty days. The convention also decided that the examination pattern of university degrees i.e, MS, MD, and MDS would be standardized by 2020.

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