The adjustment of curricula in veterinary faculties in sub-Saharan Africa

Publié le par Jean Marc


Providing scientific education of the highest quality involves

offering training which meets the needs of that particular

society and is attractive to the student, while he or she learns

skills directly applicable to his or her future working situation.

Therefore, to remain relevant to the changing national, regional

and international conditions in the livestock sector, university

curricula must be updated regularly.

Over the past few decades, the veterinary profession has been

confronted with major changes and constraints, particularly in

Africa. Civil servants and veterinary graduates have been forced

to become private practitioners, due to economic restructuring

programmes, the ensuing privatisation of Veterinary Services

and suspension or ‘freezing’ of recruitment in the public service.

Furthermore, in some countries, distrust between professional

and para-professional animal health service providers leads to

competition and dissension instead of symbiotic collaboration

and a well-balanced division of tasks between these groups.

Around the major African cities, intensification of livestock

production systems is occurring so rapidly that the veterinary

profession is not always sufficiently prepared to meet this

challenge. Climatic changes, industrialisation and an increased

interest in game farming have led to changes in animal

production systems, requiring appropriate adaptations in

veterinary practice. Food safety and export regulations for

animal products are becoming increasingly strict, due to the

globalisation of international trade, emerging transboundary

diseases and regulations designed to protect internal markets.

Although the traditional basic veterinary training structure

should be maintained to ensure international recognition of

qualifications and effective professional interactions, it is

obvious that veterinary faculties will be required to adjust the

emphases on their different disciplines and to introduce new

sub-disciplines into the training. The need for re-orientation

and periodic reviews of the veterinary curriculum has already

been stressed by several authors (9, 12). However, decisions

about which new topics should be introduced will depend on

the circumstances in the field, which are expected to vary from

region to region and from country to country.

In times when expenditure is restricted, it is quite difficult to

respond efficiently to such challenges. For this reason, the

experiences of different veterinary faculties in the area of

curricular review can be very instructive. These experiences can

aid in identifying priority areas where meagre resources can

best be deployed.

A questionnaire was developed and sent to most of the

veterinary faculties in sub-Saharan Africa, to assess the current

university undergraduate curricula in veterinary faculties and

determine how they address crucial developments in the

veterinary field, such as privatisation, decentralisation and the

need to comply with ever more rigorous disease control

standards, such as the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of

the World Trade Organization.

R. de Deken (1), M.J. Obwolo (2), E. Thys (1) & S. Geerts (1)

(1) Institute of Tropical Medicine, Veterinary Department, Nationalestraat 155, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium

(2) Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box MP 167, Mt Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe

Publié dans Jean - Marc

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