Research Day tackles transformation in Health Sciences Education

5 Sep 2016 - 15:00

Hosted by the newly established Department of Health Sciences Education, this year’s 7th Annual Health Research Day was an historic event. A space to engage with both innovative practice and research being done in the Faculty, the Day tapped in to the on-going discussion spurred by the Rhodes Must Fall movement. Based on the theme “Rhodes Has Fallen, Now What?” the day-long programme began with a welcome from Deputy Dean Professor Gonda Perez and a keynote address titled Transformation: Issues in Health Sciences Education by Associate Professor Collet Dandara, of the Division of Human Genetics.

Professor Dandara, on the state of health sciences education

“This research day provides an opportunity to develop and refine some thoughts framing the future of education and training in Health Sciences and hopefully, its critical relationship to the delivery of inclusive healthcare in South Africa” said Pro Dandara. During his presentation he spoke about the challenges facing health educators, students and patients. Prof Dandara went on to say that the values Rhodes stood for continue to plague the institution and that several changes need to occur in order to improve teaching and learning - addressing the hostile institutional climate, situating teaching in an African context and not as a bridge to Europe, and transforming the curricula to include the once silent African perspective and value system.


He spoke highly of the new department but cautioned that its good efforts to promote Health and Science Education research will remain fruitless if its programmes are on a voluntary basis. He suggested a minimum-level of educator training, which included making the Education Department’s teaching and assessment courses compulsory for staff. After a post plenary discussion presentations commenced showcasing passion for teaching, learning and assessment, through a variety of papers addressing issues related to transformation. Prize-winners were announced at the end of the day with judges remarking that it was a difficult choice as all the presentations were captivating and of a very high standard.

Winners (left to right) Assoc Prof Romy Parker, Dr Chivaugn Gordon and Ms Sarah Crawford Browne

A huge success, the day left many feeling inspired to try new ideas that will contribute to teaching and assessment in the Faculty. It also marked a promising and exciting beginning for the new Department of Health Sciences Education.