A former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Professor Peter Okebukola, says the commission’s plan to make Medicine and Dentistry post-graduate programmes was long overdue.
He said such initiative would not only put an end to producing “baby doctors,” it would also ensure that graduates emerging from the programmes were psychologically mature to practise, with a high level of competence.
Okebukola said it was standard practice across the world for medical students to have a first degree before proceeding on medical training, noting that the development would facilitate an improved health care system in the country.
He urged those who were not satisfied with the development not to lose sight of the need to train good and quality doctors.
The NUC had said recently that with its new curriculum, a medical student would be expected to have graduated in any of Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology before being admitted for the actual clinical training that would take another seven years and lead to the award of Doctor of Medicine and not just MBBS.
Okebukola, who is an educationist, told our correspondent in a telephone interview on Thursday, that the NUC would not just wake up one day and come up with a new education regime, saying before coming up with the decision, the NUC would have subjected the modification plan to rigorous consultations, survey and long approval process. He noted that the process, which started during his tenure, had been on for 12 years.
He said, “In the case of the anticipated change in the training of medical doctors, the process has taken about 12 years. I was executive secretary when we started the national needs assessment and experts’ survey, which revealed deficiencies in our medical education programme.
“Thus, a consensus was reached by medical experts across the country that a key pathway to remediation is to adopt the global best practice in medical education of enrolling students not fresh from secondary schools but those with a first degree in disciplines allied to Medicine. After the first degree, they then proceed to the doctor of medicine degree.”
He advised those who want courses of shorter duration to elect for courses outside Medicine.