n South African Journal of Higher Education - Incorporating transferable skills in an undergraduate medical curriculum : learning from experience

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



International co-operation in the pursuit and advancement of education aimed at producing citizens who are able to cope with change and contribute to national and international economies, may no longer be ignored. In preparing for its most recent curriculum review, the University of the Free State (UFS) School of Medicine borrowed extensively from well-known international models of medical education. This move implied a shift from lecture-based education to more innovative teaching and learning strategies. In international terms, the inclusion of personal, transferable skills in a learning programme for medical students represents a major step in the direction of fulfilling the requirements of accountability and quality, as specified by the World Federation on Medical Education. However, modelling on international examples is potentially problematic for a developing country such as South Africa. Limited resources and well-established theories on what medical education should entail, influence the process of change. This article focuses on the practicalities of implementing policy intentions with regard to the incorporation of skills in the new curriculum. It consists of various snapshots of actions taken and reflection upon the effects of those actions. Problems that were encountered reinforce the idea that caution should be applied when extrapolating the experience of one institution to that of another.

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