CHEPSAA members join forces across Africa and Asia to improve post-graduate education
All 7 of CHEPSAA's African member universities in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa recently joined forces with 9 other universities in Africa and Asia to explore opportunities in post-graduate public health education for health systems development.
This was made possible through the first of a two-part workshop hosted by the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape (UWC SOPH) in South Africa to strengthen post-graduate public health education and training in the global south. Forty educators, representing 16 public health training universities across 11 countries, attended the workshop (18-22 May 2015). Participants included academic staff who are actively involved in programme and curriculum development in their institutions and therefore well-placed and committed to driving educational innovations.
It is evident from recent teaching-oriented collaborations such as CHEPSAA and international higher education debates that educators in the field of public health are re-thinking issues of access to, and delivery of, post-graduate training to make use of new web-based technologies. In the process they are developing new post-graduate public health education approaches. A specific focus of these initiatives is the improved integration of formal class-based training with workplace-based learning, which includes modalities such as mentoring, peer learning and coaching.
During the first workshop, participants mapped the field of e- and flexible learning, explored the concept and practice of workplace-based learning, and brought together work conducted in various projects and consortia over the last five years, including CHEPSAA. The general focus of the workshop was on sharing expertise and experiences across the various institutions and drawing from relevant collaborations. The workshop had a particular focus on health systems analysis, practice and research, with the aim of further developing collective thinking and practice in this area of work.
The second workshop, which will take place at UWC SOPH from 19-24 October 2015, will be open to participants in the first workshop, who will seek to build on work done in-between the workshops to take forward programme and curriculum development. A particular focus will be developing a full understanding of country and institutional regulatory requirements (e.g. size and shape of degrees, scope of permissible mix of face-to-face vs. distance learning) and exploring web connectivity and digital literacy issues.
UWC SOPH is documenting the discussions and lessons from this engagement and plans to make these available as part of its open educational resources.