PLENARY: Making the global perspective local: why it is essential to work for local needs and in the local context
Date & Time
Monday, June 14, 2021, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

In a time of global turbulence, it is easy to lose sight of the primary objective of medical education: to produce doctors who are best equipped to serve their patients.  This talk therefore turns away from the pestilence that has afflicted us since early 2020, and concentrates on the need to make all aspects of medical education sensitive to need and to local context.

The latest edition of the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) global standards for basic medical education (2020) emphasises this contextual point.  There is not an imperative that “you must make a curriculum according to these rules” but the question is “you need a curriculum: how are you going to build it: how will you make sure it is right for the needs of your school: how will you test it?”.

There is no paradox in the WFME standards being “global” but their application being local.  We must educate all our students to a common high standard, but the actual knowledge and competences they will need at qualification must be determined by local need.  The same local context must be considered in every aspect of education: teaching methods; the structure of distributed learning; the processes of graduate (specialist) education; and so on.

A measure of the quality of medical education is the extent to which the medical school has equipped and educated the student to learn how to learn, not just to deal with the ever-rolling changes in medical knowledge and also to learn what will be needed as the graduate grows and moves away from his or her school to work nationally and internationally.  

It is a fortunate medical education culture that is successful not only in populating its own health care system with good doctors but in creating graduates of sufficient potential to be welcomed widely around the world.

Session moderated by Peter de Jong

Ricardo Leon Borquez