|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 2-4
Curricular reforms in Ayurveda education: How long to wait?
Priti R Desai
Department of Rachana Sharir, Mahatma Gandhi Ayurved College, Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences (DU), Hospital and Research Centre (MGACH & RC), Wardha, Maharashtra, India
|Date of Submission||09-May-2020|
|Date of Decision||09-May-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||09-May-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||2-Jul-2020|
Dr. Priti R Desai
Department of Rachana Sharir, Mahatma Gandhi Ayurved College, Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences (DU), Hospital and Research Centre (MGACH & RC), Salod (H), Wardha, Maharashtra.
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Desai PR. Curricular reforms in Ayurveda education: How long to wait?. J Indian Sys Medicine 2020;8:2-4
“The Physicians of tomorrow are taught by the teachers of today, using curricula of yesterday.”
The above words by Dr. Sethuraman, one of the eminent medical educationists, pertinently depict the challenge in health education and Ayurved education is no exception to this.
Curriculum is a runway or a race course (Latin meaning) for attaining goals of education. It is considered as a blueprint for an educational program. The curriculum is a total learning experience that includes selecting and organizing the content (syllabus), the method and ways of providing these learning experiences and evaluating the learning outcomes in terms of attainment of desired educational objectives with the time available for learning.
Reviewing, renewing, and updating of the curriculum shall be done periodically, so as to serve the changing needs of the learner and the society. There ought to be a dynamic curriculum with necessary additions and changes introduced in it from time to time by the respective university or the apex bodies with a prime objective to maintain updated curriculum and also providing therein inputs to take care of fast-paced development in the knowledge of the subject concerned. Revising the curriculum should be a continuous process to provide rationalized education to the students at large. Curriculum reform means to restructure the curriculum according to the changing needs of the learner and the society, thus giving it a new direction by reviewing and updating the content, revising its methods and rethinking its effectiveness.
Pertaining to Ayurveda education, the onus of curriculum development and curriculum revision is vested with the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM). However, no significant revision is done in the past decades except for altering the duration of professional years and teaching hours (Indian Medicine Central Council – Minimum Standards of Education Amendments 2012, 2013, and 2016). The urge of curriculum reforms in Ayurved education has been reflected by eminent Vaidyas in their articles.,
The curriculum revision involves various steps that are more or less similar to the Kern’s six steps of curriculum development. The first and foremost step is the problem identification. In this context, it is necessary to critically review the existing curriculum pertaining to the international, national, regional, and local needs. The gaps in the existing curriculum and the present scenario in aspects of social health, education technology, the resources, and professional outcomes need to be identified. This has to be done by obtaining feedback from all the stakeholders, the students, teachers, employers that include the pharmaceutical companies, government and nongovernment health organizations, and key operating persons. The focus group discussions and surveys are the best methods to obtain feedback.
The CCIM previously had organized such meetings and discussions and also invited feedback from the teachers, but unfortunately the outcome was not substantial. It will be more fruitful, if these discussions include teachers in the mid-level cadre along with the senior teachers. Undoubtedly the experiences and expertize of the senior-most faculty members will be beneficial, but there are fair chances of they not being acquainted to the present-day teaching-learning strategies, educational technology, or it may be unacceptable to them. It becomes imperative to involve teachers who are trained in Ayurved pedagogy and had contributed to educational research.
The restructuring of the curriculum may at times demand addition of goals and objectives in tandem with the changing needs and learning abilities of the learner. The curriculum should be revised in terms of addition of contents in the form of new knowledge and recent scientific advances and practices, which is most awaited in Ayurved curriculum. Addition or deletion or modification of teaching hours and unnecessary units and contents shall be relooked during revision. The contents shall be segregated into must-know, desirable-to-know, and nice-to-know areas which will balance the intellectual level of learners. For example, must-know area shall be applicable to all learners including the slow learners, whereas nice-to-know area will be for rapid learners. Most significantly the curriculum should address all the domains of learning as per Bloom’s taxonomy. It is high time to include the contents pertaining to affective and conative domains along with the cognitive and psychomotor ones.
Teaching learning methods: The revision in context to the instructional strategies necessitates replacement of teacher-centered approach, wherein the teacher acts as a “sage at the center of the stage” should be changed to student-centered approach where the teacher shall be a “guide by side.” Student-centric approaches such as case-based learning/-problem-based learning, project-based learning, task-based learning, small group discussion, and reflective learning should be incorporated in the Ayurved curriculum. Teaching methods such as early clinical exposure for basic sciences and vertical integrated teaching for pre- and para-clinical years will enhance the learning experience. Relevant teaching methods are needed to be incorporated for teaching of specific domain. For example, role plays are most effective for teaching of affective domain, interpersonal skills, and empathy. In this era of e-revolution, e- learning methods by use of various software, apps, audiovisual aids, and virtual reality should be included. The list of learning resource materials needs to be modified by addition of –e-books, e- Atlas More Details, teaching databases, and digital versions of online journals and various Web links.
The teaching methods used in Ayurveda teaching should reinforce its Shastra base on one side while keeping pace with the developments in modern science and technology. Encouraging the use of Tantrayukti will help the learners for interpreting the correct and unambiguous meaning of our Shastra and understanding the depth of knowledge of our classics.
The Ayurved professionals as health-care providers are an integral part of the society and therefore community-based teaching ought to be an inclusion in the curriculum. Considering the significant development in Ayurved research and its inevitability in the future, it becomes imperative to add a research component in Ayurved curriculum right from the preclinical years.
Assessment and evaluation
The existing system of assessment is focused on mere subject-wise notes and classical references, with no scope for evaluation of the learner comprehending the subject. The examination pattern should be more of assessing the student’s ability in understanding of the subject in purview of Ayurveda principles and should be prioritized. The examination should test the higher levels of cognition such as application, synthesis, and analysis by framing the questions in the form of clinical scenarios, problem-based questions; this will inculcate critical thinking and augmenting reasoning and analytical skills in the students.
The students learning should be assessed periodically rather than assessing them only at the summative examination. Continuous internal assessment shall be practiced in the form of class test, theme-based assignments, and quiz. This will not only help to assess the students learning but will also provide feedback to the teachers and timely intervention for enhancing learning, if required. The assessment should not be limited to testing of cognitive and psychomotor skills, but also include affective domain, which can be done through group assessment in the form of portfolios, reflections, and partially through Objective Structured Clinical Examination.
The wave of competency-based medical education in medicine fraternity is gaining momentum these days with various challenges for implementation such as fragmented assessment and capacity building of teachers to implement the same. Pertaining to Ayurved education, we may require few more years to look into competency-based education and frame a curriculum for the same; however, it may be worthwhile, if our existing curriculum can at least enlist the competencies, the learner is required to acquire in each professional year.
Change is the law of nature. Change always makes things better. The only thing is to initiate the change, and the initiative should be taken at the earliest by the apical bodies of the Indian system of medicine. Curriculum reform in Ayurved education, in accordance with the changing needs of the society can be done by adopting recent scientific advancements, innovative instructional strategies and assessment patterns, which will help in producing competent Ayurved professionals not only with knowledge, but also with enhanced practical, attitudinal and behavioral skills. The society will thus be blessed to have Ayurved physicians with confidence, compassion, and concern. Also, our future Ayurved professionals can face the world with dignity, if they are groomed up with appropriate and time-paced updated training through the reformed curricula in a periodic manner.
Financial Support and Sponsorship
Conflicts of Interest
The author is one of the editorial board member of the journal
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