Teaching and Teacher Education for Health Professionals: Perspectives on Quality and Outlook of Health Professionals Education in Zambia

  • SS Banda


Purpos: To measure students’ perspectives on the teaching quality of the school of medicine at University of Zambia and concurrently measure health professionals educators perspectives on the need for teaching courses for health professionals educators (educational skills training). The results are discussed as indications for educational skills training for educators in health professionals’ education. Method: 250 medical students from the MB ChB programme were surveyed, in an evaluation exercise, to rate the teaching contribution of all the full-time and honorary lecturers (n=88). The students were requested to rate each lecturer out of 10 on eight scales: a) attendance, b) punctuality, c) clarity, d) interest in the subject, e) supportiveness to students, f) ability as a lecturer, g) appropriate use of audiovisual aids, and h) amount of workload done in the academic year. Additionally, a multi-site study surveyed 426 health professionals educators, defined as persons who considered themselves as continually participating in teaching students in a training institutions for health professions in the Country on the necessity for and their willingness to enroll into a teaching programme for health educators. Results: Two hundred students of the eligible 250 completed the evaluation giving a response rate of 80%. The scores for teaching quality ranged from 8/ 40 to 40/40. The mean score was 32.2. The results showed that about 27.2% (n=24) did not meet the merit standard which was set at 30/40 as the quality assurance benchmark by the School. This result suggests that a large proportion of teaching staff could benefit from teacher education. Four hundred and four questionnaires were completed and returned out of the 426 that had been distributed, yielding a response rate of 94.8 %. The Cronbach’s alpha for reliability test was 0.62 – 0.70 on the teaching skills sub-scale and 0.76 – 0.78 on the Educational skills sub-scale. The majority, over 85%, acknowledged they lacked expertise in educational skills and that they would enrol in a programme to improve their educational skills. There was overwhelming (>90%) agreement in topics to be covered. Limitations: Quality of teaching contributions only measured at school of medicine; Large proportion of educators’ survey were not full-time teaching staff. Implications: The belief that professional qualifications are sufficient for preparation for teaching health professionals is now being confronted. Formal systems of teacher education in the health professions have emerged worldwide and are now also available in Zambia.

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eISSN: 0047-651X
print ISSN: 0047-651X