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Thursday, 17 March 2016

Stakeholders Disagree On 11yrs For Medical Students

Stakeholders in education sector have reacted to plans by the National Universities Commission, NUC, to increase duration of medical students from six to 11 years, saying the development was expensive, discouraging and will lead to dearth of medical doctors in Nigeria.

Reacting to this, Deputy Director, Distance Learning Institute, DLI, University of Ibadan, Professor Oyesoji Aremu, said: “The announcement of NUC that medical students would have to spend 11 years for medical education appears too much a year to be spent in medical schools.”

Explaining the negative impact on the students, parents, profession and the nation, Aremu said it would affect the number of candidates that would henceforth seek to study medicine.

He said the health sector might witness a dearth of medical personnel in the country which would have serious effects on Nigerians.

According to him, it will take an average of 29 years for an individual to be a medical student, provided he/she enters university at the age of 17.

Also reacting, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar, UNICAL, Professor Florence Banku-Obi, said: “NUC just made a statement that has not been backed up by any policy. No policy or curriculum to guide them on that.”

She said what the NUC could have done was to break the 11 years into two, adding that students should be given the opportunity to graduate in the first phase and continue after their first degree to read medicine.

Using Ghana as a case study, Banku-Obi said: “In Ghana, for you to read medicine, you must have your first degree and get matured. If it is the maturity the NUC is looking at, they should draw a plan of a first degree, which could be terminal to enable them look for job if they want to discontinue. Also, if anyone wants to continue medical studies, he can now continue to read medicine.”

It would be recalled that NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Julius Okojie, while delivering a lecture at the matriculation and inauguration of the University of Medical Science, Ondo, Ondo State recently, said its became imperative for medical students to spend between 10-11 years in school in order to enable the students to mature psychologically for the profession.

He said the 2015 document for the training of medical students made provision for students to spend four years studying basic sciences after which they would proceed to the medical school to spend another seven years.

Okojie added, “The new benchmark still retains the fundamental learning objectives that seek to achieve national development goals as well as a sustainable development goal.”

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