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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 47  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 53-54

Implementation of a student-centered curriculum: Challenges ahead and the potential solutions


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission14-May-2020
Date of Acceptance19-May-2020
Date of Web Publication23-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jss.JSS_38_20

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  Abstract 


The competency-based medical education curriculum advocates for the shifting of curriculum from the teacher-centric to the student-centric curriculum. A student-centered curriculum is the one, in which students themselves are accountable for the teaching–learning process, including the framed policies and the decisions taken. However, the path to implement a student-centric curriculum is quite challenging, and a wide range of challenges have been identified from the perspectives of different involved stakeholders. In order to successfully implement a student-centric curriculum, we have to do a lot many things which essentially includes, designing of the curriculum based on well-defined and specific competencies, very much in advance. It is very important to sensitize all the stakeholders involved, and all of them have to understand the need of the same and then work together as a team. In conclusion, the successful implementation of a student-centric curriculum requires extensive planning, preparation, and involvement. The road ahead is quite challenging, but it is not impossible, and it just requires dedicated efforts from all the concerned stakeholders.

Keywords: Curriculum, faculty development program, student centric


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Implementation of a student-centered curriculum: Challenges ahead and the potential solutions. J Sci Soc 2020;47:53-4

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Implementation of a student-centered curriculum: Challenges ahead and the potential solutions. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Jul 7];47:53-4. Available from: http://www.jscisociety.com/text.asp?2020/47/1/53/287489




  Introduction Top


The competency-based medical education curriculum advocates for the shifting of curriculum from the teacher-centric to the student-centric curriculum. A student-centered curriculum is the one, in which students themselves are accountable for the teaching–learning process, including the framed policies and the decisions taken.[1] In fact, students have to be actively involved even in the process of curriculum planning, choosing appropriate teaching–learning method, and the process of assessment.[1],[2] In other words, students are responsible for their learning progression, acquisition of desired skills, and attainment of the course outcomes.[1],[2],[3]


  Identified Challenges Top


This concept has been introduced as it has delivered encouraging results in heterogeneous settings of medical education.[2],[3] However, the path to implement a student-centric curriculum is quite challenging, and a wide range of challenges have been identified from the perspectives of different involved stakeholders.[1],[2],[3] In a student-centric curriculum, the class generally operates with more amount of interaction between students and teachers (and not like teacher only has to talk) and more priority being given to group activity and aiming for progression in learning through better teamwork, communication, and collaboration.[2],[3]

Students' perspective

From the students' perspective, not every student can learn at a pace equivalent to others, and in that case, it becomes extremely difficult to attain different outcomes of each subject, that too within a defined span of time.[1],[2] Moreover, as the program will be not much structured, students might be either overwhelmed with the given responsibility or may lack uniformity or can be totally independent. Owing to the lack of driving force from teachers or in conditions where students lack interest or confidence or have a fear toward learning any topic, there is a potential risk that the entire process can be compromised.[1],[2]

Faculty perspective

From the teachers' perspective, sensitizing and convincing the teachers about this kind of teaching in itself a big challenge, as teachers, then have to design their sessions in a student-centric fashion (after performing the students' needs assessment about each allocated topic) and predominantly act as a facilitator, and these all will require extensive planning.[2],[3] This will surely attract loads of resistance from the teachers as they are very much used to traditional mode of teaching–learning, and they have to resort to innovative teaching–learning and assessment methods and accept cooperative learning.[1],[2],[3]

Other challenges

There are multiple practical concerns such as students not preferring to work in teams or team conflicts or need to be taught by teachers like in schools, slow learners, or the teams are not working at a similar pace, or faculty issues (such as how to control the class, if students are talking in the session, which is very much envisaged or how to shape the learning, if students learn unnecessary things, especially if teachers are new to teaching). In order to deal with all these, a teacher has to be a multitasker and really motivated and convinced to give due attention.[2],[3] Further, the issues of administrative support, resource availability, faculty parameters (viz. strength/training status), allocation of money, competence level of teachers to adopt new teaching–learning methods, etc., are a big question not only in terms of its availability but also with regard to their universality.[1]


  Potential Solutions Top


In order to successfully implement a student centric curriculum, we have to do a lot many things well in advance, which essentially includes, designing of the curriculum based on subject-specific competencies.[3],[4] It is very important to sensitize all the stakeholders involved (viz. students, teachers, and administrators), and all of them have to understand the need of the same and then work together as a team. Before the implementation of the curriculum, the resources should be planned and procured and series of faculty development program needs to be organized to make the teachers understand their role and how they can offer their best in the development of a competent medical graduate. The faculty development programs should also target training them about innovative teaching methods.[2],[3] Anticipating the need of a better preparedness for ensuring a successful implementation of the Competency-based Undergraduate Curriculum, the Curriculum Committee and Medical Education Unit of Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, a constituent unit of Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry, took multiple active steps. These include sensitization of all the faculty members about the significance of a student-centered curriculum and the role of faculty members in facilitating the seamless execution of the same. The teachers have also been trained about the use of different innovative teaching-learning methods and assessment tools to strengthen the overall process.

Further, students need to be sensitized/motivated and they should be made to understand their role in learning and planning of the curriculum. This should essentially include a detailed description about the curriculum, competencies that need to be attained, the assessment methods, etc., right at the time of the commencement of the course.[2] However, at the same time, it is important to realize that the needs and expectations of students for an MBBS course are quite challenging and thus only motivated students should be allowed to join the course, and there has to be a mechanism for exiting the course if the student fails to keep up the pace. Although it sounds quite radical, the incidence of all these can be significantly reduced by proper mentoring and mental conditioning of the students. In addition, the curriculum should undergo subsequent revisions and modifications based on the feedback received from the stakeholders.[1],[2],[3]


  Conclusion Top


The successful implementation of a student-centric curriculum requires extensive planning, preparation, and involvement. The road ahead is quite challenging, but it is not impossible, and it just requires dedicated efforts from all the concerned stakeholders.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Jacobs JC, van Luijk SJ, van der Vleuten CP, Kusurkar RA, Croiset G, Scheele F. Teachers' conceptions of learning and teaching in student-centred medical curricula: The impact of context and personal characteristics. BMC Med Educ 2016;16:244.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Kar SS, Premarajan KC, Subitha L, Archana R, Iswarya S, Sujiv A. Student-centred learning in community medicine: An experience from Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry. Natl Med J India 2014;27:272-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Cianciolo A, Lower T. Implementing a student-centred year 4 curriculum: Initial findings. Med Educ 2012;46:1107-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. How to successfully implement competency-based medical education in India. Educ Health Prof 2018;1:61-3.  Back to cited text no. 4
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Abstract
Introduction
Identified Chall...
Potential Solutions
Conclusion
References

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