AN anaesthesiologist by training, Dr T. Venugopala Rao, the Registrar of Dr NTR University of Health Sciences, got interested in academics when he realised that teaching at the postgraduate level was of poor quality. Even as he was trying to hone his skills as a teacher by attending various courses, he got an offer to become the Registrar of the university. He saw this as an opportunity to implement his ideals.
Venugopala Rao believes that the medical profession differs from other professions in terms of both content and motivation. It is a service profession and requires utmost dedication from doctors. There are 1,800 medical schools in the world. Proliferation of medical colleges without good quality education and training is a threat to the practice of medical science, he says.
In India, this proliferation has resulted in a severe shortage of teaching faculty. Many colleges lack the required infrastructure or the clinical material. We are finding it difficult to train students using the benefits of globalisation effectively. The main restraint, particularly for government colleges, is the absence of financial resources, he says.
Another big hurdle is that physicians often lack formal training in teaching.
They learn the art of teaching by trial and error over a long period of time, he says.
In their traditional role, teachers acted as sources of information and transmitted the same to the learners. With the recent emphasis on the teacher's role as a learner, he/she has become more of a facilitator of learning. Though this has diminished teachers' role in teaching per se, their overall responsibility has increased.
Today, teachers are expected to be managers, communicators, research workers and role models besides being learners themselves. He/she should be able to plan, implement and evaluate the entire teaching-learning process.
In order to ensure an effective teaching-learning process, the university entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Andhra Pradesh Medical Graduates in USA (APMGUSA), a non-profit organisation, for improving emergency education and training medical graduates under the AP Emergency Care Project. The goal is to include basic life support and airway management courses at the undergraduate level and an advanced cardiac life support course at the postgraduate level.G. Venkataramana Rao