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We need to adopt Democratic Constitutional Governance in educational institutions which at present is lacking-Prof. Lubna Baig Ansari

LAHORE: The second plenary session during the 7th Internaitonal Conference on Health Professions Education (ICHPE)organized by University of Lahore on November 2nd 2023 had four invited guest speakers. They included Prof. Salman Rawaf from Imperial Medical College London who is also President of International Association of Medical Colleges, Prof. Lubna Baig Ansari another noted medical educationist and former Pro Vice Chancellor of Jinnah Sindh Medical University at Karachi, Dr. Mandy Moffat from Dundee University and Prof. Susie Schofield also from Dundee University, Ireland.

Prof. Salman Rawaf was the first speaker who made a presentation on “Future of Medical Education: Many Challenges to overcome”. He was of the view that our medical colleges were not ready to face the challenges. Speaking about the shortage of doctors he said, at present there is a shortage of one lac twenty-four thousand doctors in secondary care in UK. Almost 70% of doctors are leaving medicine in UK after Covid while 65% doctors were leaving medicine in Egypt. As regards Quality of evidence, almost 60% of evidence which is published is fake. He then referred to INFODEMIC which is being discussed quite frequently after the Covid19 pandemic, expectations of people and there were also lot of misconceptions.

Speaking about the Role of medical schools, he mentioned Learning, Research, Innovations and serving the community. They are also supposed to be preparing the next generation of doctors. We need to align medical education system to national health systems and align it with medical education with higher medical training. He laid emphasis on the importance of Students centered adult learning and University Hospital’s financial sustainability. Are many teachers fit for teaching, he asked? Simulation has a place and we need an integrated approach to the whole system. He also talked about primary care teaching in Hospitals, medical colleges, learning sites, faculty development and student centered facilities. We need to refine medical governance, he remarked.

Prof. Lubna Baig Ansari spoke on “Governance and Leadership in academic institutions: Where should we go from here”. She then referred to the disconnect between primary health care, Governance and academic leadership: Why this disconnect exists she asked. She also highlighted the importance of Accountability and feedback. She was of the view that we need to adopt democratic constitutional governance in educational institutions which at present is lacking. She laid emphasis on Institutional autonomy and freedom but how this autonomy is managed is different. How much authority do they have to run these institutions? They all have reliance on Government for funding. Governing Boards who is in and how they work. It all consists of owners, Governors, Chief Ministers who actually run these institutions, she remarked.

Medical institutions in Public sector have fifteen to twenty members of the Governing Body who have 100% state authority. In private sector owners of the institutions have control of authority and funding. They manipulate fees. PMDC and HEC are the regulatory bodies. In public sector it is the politicians who control and have lot of influence, they take decisions to increase their vote bank. Appointment of Vice Chancellors is seldom made on merit. However, in the private sector merit is upheld and to some extent in private medical universities as well. We need a good leader to ensure governance but at present we lack in efficient Governance. We lack leadership at higher level. Degree of authority also matters. She also talked about the lack of leadership in the society. Members of the governing board, she opined, should be selected on merit. They must demand accountability. Students should demand good quality of education. They should demand transparent information but students demanding this have to leave the Univesity. It is the duty of the Society that it should demand quality education, she remarked.

Speakers in the Second Plenary Session durning ICHPE organized by UOL from (L to R) are Prof. Salman Rawaf, Dr. Mandy Moffat, Prof. Susie Schofield and Prof. Lubna Baig Ansari.

Dr. Mandy Moffat from University of Dundee was the next speaker. Her presentation was on “Sense of belongingness in Health Professions Education: The role of the Faculty”. She pointed out that it is important what I as a faculty can do. She also talked about the Safety needs as well as physical needs. She discussed in detail the Identity formation, Engagement with Academic centers, student’s retention and their mental wellbeing. With increased freedom the sense of belongings comes.

She then referred to increase in opportunities of online courses and Hybrid programmes. It provides flexibility needed by professionals particularly those with familial constraints. However, in distant learning where is the interaction, authority she asked. Online courses teaching creates safe environment. It also allows opportunities for social networking. We need to build it in overall curriculum. Revisit Hopes and Fears. Acknowledge students hard work and explain students tutor thoughts.

Prof. Susie Schofield also from Dundee was the last speaker in this session. The topic of her presentation was “Belongingness through Contextualization: Nurturing Holistic Growth in Health Professions Education”. She pointed out that with online healthcare where is the interaction? She also referred to connectivity and mental wellbeing. We need to reduce burnout among staff, concentrate on retention of staff and focus on identity formation. Engagement, she opined, increases productivity. Online healthcare and online education has increased homework, increased pressure on health services and learning is much more disturbed. Belongingness is measured by retention of staff. She also referred to reduction in productivity. She was of the view that Romans should help the visitors wile in Rome. We need to create opportunities for community, create accessibility. She also talked about mentoring and role modelling in self-care. Not everyone can become professional, Dean or Scholar, she remarked.

In response to a question whether the private medical institutions can pool their resources to have cost effective teaching and training facilities, it was stated that except sharing the faculty, they can do that. However a faculty member cannot work in more than one institutions because it won’t result in belongingness. One cannot have loyalty to more than one institution at the same time because of conflict of interest. 

Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid who facilitated a workshop on Scientific Writing and Publishing at AZNMC on November 1st during ICHPE organized by UOL being presented Mementoes by Prof. M. Akbar Chaudhry and Prof. Zahid Latif after the workshop.

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