Cooperation urged to address problems in medical education in Saudi Arabia


The conference focused on issues relating to the GCC, including the need to develop medical curricula, academic accreditation, improving the quality of health care and revising the criteria of choosing medical students.

Day one of the conference consisted of workshops for medical students. The subsequent two days comprised workshops for professors.

“Challenges in medical education are common among Gulf countries. A matter that requires more cooperation between the different countries, especially since medical education in all specialties require care,” said Muhammad Al-Shehri, a professor of surgery and general manager of the Saudi Society for Medical Education.

The conference attracted more than 50 experts from Europe, North America and the Middle East. Over 25 research papers were delivered at the conference.

“What is special about this conference is that there was a meeting of students discussing medical education. About 1,300 male and female students attended the meeting, which… took place a day before the conference,” said Dr. Adnan Al-Mazrouei, chairman of the organizing committee and dean of the faculty of medicine at King Abdul Aziz University.

He added that students from private medical colleges across the Kingdom attended the meeting.

Students were reported to have organized the meeting themselves and interacted with each other in a positive and professional fashion. “Our students are highly skillful and energetic, they just need the chance to prove themselves,” Al-Mazrouei said.

He stressed the importance of lifelong learning for students in order to remain well read on new developments in their specific fields. He added that early clinical exposure is among those things that have been newly planned.

One of the topics discussed included changing the curricula, a process that is continuous in medical schools. “Changing the curricula is a collective decision made after comparing them with curricula taught abroad or after recommendations from experts visiting us from abroad,” said Al-Shehri.

“It is about time that we start a national accreditation system and have a method of evaluating curricula and colleges,” he said. “There must be a support for all societies and organizations that are concerned in improving medical education.”

According to professor Hasan Al-Zahrani, chairman of the Surgery Department at the King Abdul Aziz University Hospital, the curriculum is what decides what sort of doctor a college aims to graduate.

“Doctors, in addition to treating patients, educate students. They are researchers, continuous learners and public leaders. Curricula must meet the challenges of the future. Every medical school must aim to graduate a five-star doctor, who has skills to treat patients, knowledge and other qualities, including communication skills, administrative skills and research skills,” he said.


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