‘Some students we teach are not fit for medical schools, how they got there, I don’t know’
From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
In the world of today mostly where people dodder into a particular career but end up practicing in an entirely different field, a call has gone out to parents to desist from imposing choice career on their children.
Prof Gabriel Udeze Chianakwana made the call at the 2016 College Lecture of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus orgarnised in conjunction with the Directorate of International Collaboration and Linkages and Insight Africa-UK.
Chianakwana, a Professor of Surgery, who was one of the lead speakers, described medical education as a difficult task meant for those ready to pay the required price. Speaking on the topic “International and Intercultural Collaboration in Medical Education”, he lamented that some people and students alike see medicine as a status symbol. He said those that run to the course for the mere pleasure of seeing the appellation of ‘Dr’ affixed to their names should better have a rethink.
He counseled parents not to force their children to read medicine because such situation according to him has bred unmitigated disaster into the medical profession.
According to him “the medical students must read to be a doctor while every doctor must strive to be a very good doctor. Some students we teach are not fit for medical schools, how they got there, I don’t know. The faculties are not the best and we keep managing but for how long shall we keep managing?” he queried.
Prof. Chianakwana pointed out that there are so many cases of policy changes in Nigeria without continuity of any lofty programme at the change of any government.
He lamented that the quality of an educational system can’t exceed the quality of its teachers declaring that it is high time the right people are hired to teach.
He identified Discipline, Honesty, Integrity and Selflessness as key virtues required from every Nigerian irrespective of one’s position and made a strong case for the compulsory fixing of one year abroad programme for fresh medical students graduates in Nigeria.
Prof. Chianakwana counseled those in the medical school not to see their certificate as meal tickets
He regretted that today in Nigeria most bankers working as cashiers in several financial institutions never read accountancy, banking and finance and other related courses. He said some them read political science while some were medical students in the university.
It is the same story in the ecclesiastical fold where some parents even force their children into seminary schools so that the family will produce a priest not minding whether such people have the inner calling to go into the ministry or not.
Another lecturer, Dr. Edwin Nwobodo while speaking on the theme: “Medical Education in the 21st Century,” said there are new demands in the skills, attitude, knowledge in training and practice for the 21st century medical expert.
He said the era now calls for problem based learning which also requires new tools and ways of assessing the people and teaching the subject matter.
He noted that the 21st century skills should be activity-based, collaborative, creative, integrative and evaluative.
Nwobodo said that technology should be regarded as a powerful learning resource that can support the 21st century skills. He said Information Communication Technology (ICT) facilities should be made available in quantity and quality at schools to guarantee the opportunities for technology use in the classrooms.
He declared that Information Technology is the way to go for the medical education in the 21st century.
Dr Igwebuike Onyiora , Director, International Collaboration and Linkages, an associate professor of Hematologic Pathology and Forensic Medicine in a chat with the reporter said he got collaborators to be part of that interface with British and Nigerian universities in the area of education research and career development.
He said the target of nurses this time around is to give them dual certification and career development so that the nurses can have the capacity, competence and certification to work both in Nigeria and anywhere in the world.
“Apart from that, we want to see how we can now design curriculum to suit our local needs and meet international standards, the reason we do college lecture every year and this is one of a kind. We got Insight Africa UK, an organization involved in education, research and career development in the versatile areas of life. They collaborate and interface with UK institutions and African universities,” he said.
Provost, College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus, Prof. Alexander Nwafor, in a remark noted that the college lecture is important because of the essence of medical education and collaboration.
He said there are best practices which are standards anywhere in the world for which no institution should be in isolation anymore. He said the target is on changes in education in line with the realities and practice and declared that any education without practicability is a failure hence the need to equip the students with what has been done before and where those things can be taken further.
He said that collaboration makes peer review system possible and this not only enriches knowledge but broadens the horizon.
Mrs Ral Parkin of Insight Africa UK in a presentation said the medical students have been given a lifetime opportunity to explore linkage programmes and also benefit from the interface offered by the programme so that they can turn out as better equipped persons in the medical field for both individual benefits and the general positive growth of the Nigerian medical profession.