Drs Janet Strivens and Ian Willis from the Centre for Lifelong Learning have recently returned from Lahore, Pakistan where they were continuing the work of ‘Enhancing Learning and Teaching in Medical Education in Punjab’, Pakistan.
This was originally a British Council funded project and is now funded through Pakistan’s ‘Visiting International Scholars’ scheme. The project is based in the University of Health Sciences Lahore (UHS), which controls the assessment of most of the medical and dental colleges in Punjab. This gives them significant influence over the teaching practices of 40 affiliated institutions and so developments at UHS can spread throughout the province.
The project is becoming genuinely locally owned and sustainable. The focus this time was the Certificate in Medical Teaching – our development programme for teachers in medical and dental education. It concentrates on student-centred learning and on developing local skills in mentoring and facilitation.
We were there for a week, and in that time UHS had organised three classes running concurrently over four days and a further three concurrent classes in the following three days, with a total of 146 students. At one stage we needed 11 rooms for mini-presentations; so an organisational marvel. Plus we had Dr Shazia Iqbal, who has just completed her MSc in Medical Education at UoL, recounting her experiences – both academic and cultural – whilst in Liverpool and Dr Masood Jawaid’s workshops on Technology Integrated Learning in resource-poor countries. This was a treat in terms of how to use technology when institutions don’t have the learning technologists or strategies for using technology. We heard case studies from resourceful staff and a plethora of open source software in use in different parts of Pakistan in order to meet the same learning aims we have in the UK with all our facilities and skilled support.
The whole week was an unmitigated success, with facilitators and many, many students reporting both changes to teaching practice and personal transformation in terms of how they are now conceptualising learning and teaching. Highly rewarding and exhausting for us!
The work is well on the way to sustainability, plus word is spreading. We had students travelling a four to five hours round trip each day and others coming from Centres hundreds of miles away. We were also invited to visit the oldest university in the region (130 years old) to talk with them about how they might learn from the experiences at UHS. The week was packed but a real pleasure based on the enthusiasm of local people and seeing the results.
Main photo above: Ian and Janet (front centre) with one of the classes at the end of their course.
Photo below: In the main auditorium, Ian and Janet (front centre), facilitators, and some of the students.