The quality of doctors churned out by the University of Guyana has been mostly exceptional making them adaptable to practically any clinical setting. This observation has been made by internationally acclaimed Professor, Jaipaul Singh, of the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom.
A product of the local University himself, Professor Singh has for the past four years been working as an external examiner within the Faculty of Health Sciences. And according to him, during an interview with this newspaper yesterday, “I can say that I am pleased with the students here…particularly with the way they are taught and the progress that has been made.”
According to Professor Singh, he knows of trained Guyanese doctors who have migrated to the United Kingdom and did the Board Examination and have performed well. “This means that the doctors that are being produced here in the local university are very bright because this is the only pre-clinic setting which is the foundation and without this they cannot follow the clinical aspect.”
The medical students’ exposure to senior doctors within the local public health facilities also plays a major role, Professor Singh has said.
Professor Singh left Guyana for the United Kingdom in 1974 and undertook a doctorate in Philosophy. He has however been involved with the University of Guyana since 1994 but has only been an external examiner for the medical students for the past few years.
And with the recent introduction of a Bachelors of Dental Surgery programme, Professor Singh is tasked with examining students who undertake the physiology aspect of both the medical and dental programmes.
Over the past few days he has been examining students in a quest to provide them with an appropriate grade. “My job is really to chat with the students to find out if they are fit enough to go on. If not, I have to give them a failing grade or ask them to do something else.”
The ultimate decision is however made following a board meeting which also addresses scripts and local lectures to ensure that there is no discrimination in the marking scheme.
“My report can be used when external bodies come here to accredit the university. The paperwork plays a major role in accreditation especially if you have some good professors this helps to build the standard of any university.”
Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr Emanuel Cummings, recently revealed that measures are apace to have all programmes offered within the Health Sciences Faculty be fully accredited.
Having been accredited the BSc in Medicine is recognised regionally.
According to Dr Cummings, the BSc Nursing programme is next on the list for accreditation. The two-year nursing programme, which has been ongoing for some time now, is offered to persons who have completed the Registered Nursing Programme offered by the local health sector.
“Right now it is nursing and soon it will be pharmacy then dentistry so eventually all the programmes in the Health Sciences Faculty will be accredited,” Dr Cummings asserted. He disclosed that the university has been visited by officials from the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions whose task it is to accredit the programmes.
It is anticipated that within a year or two the nursing programme will be up for full accreditation, Dr Cummings noted, allowing local nurses to be able to practice anywhere in the Caribbean without doing an examination.
In the meantime, the university is working on its own to improve the quality of its programme through quality assurance programmes.
“Certainly we know that our facilities need to be improved. There is no question about that. We just had a quality assurance workshop and I am certain these measures will be increasing the quality of our graduates,” Dr Cummings noted.
The Dean has also disclosed that graduates from the university have not been having a hard time finding jobs overseas, thus suggesting that the programmes offered here are of a high quality.
He noted though that despite of where a person is trained there are some countries like the United States that will always require them to write the State Board examination. According to Dr Cummings, during a recent interview, “Our graduates go and write the same board exams and pass and do well or even better than candidates coming from so-called recognised universities.”
However, he divulged that with more funding to improve the university’s laboratories and other physical facilities coupled with more qualified staffers the university is likely to improve its current academic standing.
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