Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Should universities and medical schools merge

and simply become bigger  or should they specialise more than they now do? That is the question for this state.

We have three universities in this state. I would say that this is one too many and that they also need to specialise more than they do.

There are two medical schools, two law schools, three education schools and so it goes on. This is for a state with a population of about 1.8m people. It is ridiculous and continues to get more ridiculous. There are things we don't teach we should be teaching. There are things we are cutting because there aren't the students or staff to support it in more than one place. There are other things we are removing and which will almost certainly never return. Students are being told that they can no longer study these things. They won't lead to employment or they are not considered as important as those things deemed to be "politically correct". 

The two medical schools take quite different approaches. One is still traditional with a "lectures and placements" approach. The other is a more "hands on from the start" approach.  There are arguments for and against both these approaches. 

Middle Cat did her physiotherapy training under the former approach but, being of a particularly inquisitive and inquiring mind, she also approached the other university and somehow obtained permission to attend the dissection sessions the trainee doctors were doing. My doctor nephew did his training under the second scheme and now has real concerns about the things he did not get taught. A friend not far from here has concerns about the practical work because she trained under the former scheme. 

There is probably a need for more balance - theory and practice. I suspect a would be doctor is rather like a would be lawyer. You can learn quite a lot about the body or about the law but actually putting it into practice is quite a different story. Perhaps if I ever get to talk to a coroner about such things I will get an answer to that one.

But I thought about all this again yesterday when a young student in his last year at school asked me for some help. He is aiming for medical school and, unless something disastrous prevents it, he should get there.  The interesting thing however is that he won't be training here. He was not given a provisional acceptance in either place. He does have a provisional acceptance in other places and I suspect he will be in the position of having to make a choice. When he does it might well be a choice that will see him live outside this state for the rest of his life. We are going to lose a potentially excellent doctor, a boy who is fascinated by the way our bodies work. 

"If I get there it will be interesting but I don't know anyone else who is applying to any of those places. That will mean starting all over again in lots of ways."

Yes, that's a problem. We are wasting resources by duplicating courses. If the courses were more flexible but confined to one place would that help? Would it allow us to teach other things that need to be taught instead of cutting them out altogether? 

What's a university for? Is it really just to prepare future workers? Or is there something still to be said for actually getting an education? 


Anonymous said...

Your system sounds very complicated. We don‘t have different schools here, everything is taught at the university. So you van study law and hear some lectures in science, or medicine and philosophy.
Hilde in Germany

Anonymous said...

It is not quite as complicated as it sounds. The "schools" are inside the university but students would not normally attend medical lectures if they were law students or philosophy lectures if they were medical students and so on. Chris

Adelaide Dupont said...

At least not for credit.

You can audit them and/or take them for general education and for breadth

[eg: if you were studying Medical Humanities or Digital Humanities].

Hilde: I have a lot of time for the German system - especially the theoretical grounding and the practical apprenticeships.

Chris: since the mid-1990s I have had a rail into some of the South Australian universities in particular - through various family friends and possibly two generations.

Medical schools probably cannot go off on their own.

I think the cross-pollination with other university worlds helps a lot.

The Americans do pre-law and pre-med and a whole lot of pre- and post-professional courses.