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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Problems and issues in implementing innovative curriculum in the developing countries: the Pakistani experience

Syeda Kauser Ali1 and Lubna A Baig2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department for Educational Development, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan

2 Medical Education, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University of Health Sciences, Riyadh and Medical Education and Research Unit, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada

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BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:31  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-31

Published: 16 May 2012

Abstract

Background

The Government of Pakistan identified 4 medical Colleges for introduction of COME, one from each province. Curriculum was prepared by the faculty of these colleges and launched in 2001 and despite concerted efforts could not be implemented. The purpose of this research was to identify the reasons for delay in implementation of the COME curriculum and to assess the understanding of the stakeholders about COME.

Methods

Mixed methods study design was used for data collection. In-depth interviews, mail-in survey questionnaire, and focus group discussions were held with the representatives of federal and provincial governments, Principals of medical colleges, faculty and students of the designated colleges. Rigor was ensured through independent coding and triangulation of data.

Results

The reasons for delay in implementation differed amongst the policy makers and faculty and included thematic issues at the institutional, programmatic and curricular level. Majority (92% of the faculty) felt that COME curriculum couldn’t be implemented without adequate infrastructure. The administrators were willing to provide financial assistance, political support and better coordination and felt that COME could improve the overall health system of the country whereas the faculty did not agree to it.

Conclusion

The paper discusses the reasons of delay based on findings and identifies the strategies for curriculum change in established institutions. The key issues identified in our study included frequent transfer of faculty of the designated colleges and perceived lack of:

· Continuation at the policy making level

· Communication between the stakeholders

· Effective leadership

Keywords:
Community-oriented medical education; Curriculum development; Educational innovation; Change management; Evaluation of curriculum; Educational leadership