Written to Island by: A Realistic Parent
The once revered guru of medical education, Prof. Carlo Fonseka, now says that undergraduate education is not a cost- effective or worthwhile undergraduate exercise and that it does not matter where and how students acquire knowledge, skills etc., as computer- assisted learning can do much better than hack teachers like us!
As a parent of a medical graduate of a foreign university I am astonished by these comments as the quality of teaching and imparting of clinical skills can vary so much between so called reputed medical schools abroad. In some medical schools there is hardly any patient- centred teaching, while in others there is hardly any student-patient contact at all. Proper guidance as to what is important, pertinent or inessential is hardly ever mentioned. It is after following ward classes at the National Hospital, Colombo,that my child came to realize what a farce the teachers have been enacting in many foreign medical schools. It was in the few weeks that he followed ward classes in Colombo that he came to know about proper history- taking, eliciting physical signs etc.
This, in my opinion,is the main reason why so many foreign students fail the local qualifying examination called the Act 16 Examination.
Finally, I wish to state that without a sound basic education a proper edifice cannot be built. The production of quality post- graduates and researchers will remain a pipe dream if one were to follow the learned but senile professor’s exhortations!