The University of Health Sciences (UHS), in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, UK, has launched a training program for the medical teachers so that future doctors are prepared to bring knowledge and skills to solve problems, make sense of information, and know-how to gather and evaluate evidence to make timely decisions.

The program consisting of six workshops of a 3-day duration each will be funded by the British Council under its ‘Going Global Partnerships’ grant supporting partnerships between universities, colleges, education policymakers, civil society organizations, and industry partners in the UK and around the world. This specific grant is for developing skills in development in science, technology, engineering, and math, collectively termed as STEM Education Initiative. The workshops will be organized by the UHS Medical Education Department. Two of the six workshops will be held in Lahore and one each in Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, and Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, in which medical teachers will be trained in the latest teaching techniques of transformational, problem-based, and blended learning.

Under the program, 150 nominated teachers from different medical and dental colleges of Punjab and Azad Jammu and Kashmir will participate in the workshops who will be trained as the master trainers. No fee will be charged by any participant. Workshop facilitators will include British and Pakistani experts.

The inaugural ceremony of the program was held here at the UHS on Friday that was attended by the British Council’s Director Education Dr. Nishat Riaz, UHS VC Professor Javed Akram, Pro-VC Professor Maroof Aziz, Director Medical Education Lt Col (R) Dr Khalid Rahim and Prof. Farkhanda Ghafoor. University of Sheffield’s Head of Medical Education Professor Michelle Marshall, Dr. Benjamin Jackson, and Dr. Amir Burney attended virtually.

In her address, Dr. Nishat Riaz thanked the UHS authorities for involving the British Council in the noble cause of teaching the teachers. She said that if we wanted a nation where our future leaders, professionals, and workers could understand and solve some of the complex challenges of today and tomorrow, and meet the demands of the dynamic and evolving workforce, building students’ skills, content knowledge, and literacy was essential.

We are in a region where the thirst for discovery and the acquisition of knowledge is in our DNA. We have a lot of data on diseases which is like a gold mine. We need to use it for research and creating impact factor publications”, she asserted. Prof. Javed Akram said that the British Council had been instrumental in promoting education in Pakistan. He added that COVID-19 hit the economies hard all around the world which had made it all the more necessary to pool the available resources. UHS VC further said that the need for learning new techniques in medical education had increased in the post-COVID period. Professor Michelle Marshall said that it was an honor to work with Pakistani institutions and the cooperation in this regard would be further strengthened. Dr. Benjamin Jackson highlighted those new challenges in the health sector had created new challenges in the field of education. He called the collaboration between the two universities a partnership between Lahore and Sheffield, patient and doctor, and teacher and student

Dr. Asad Zaheer said that with the INSPIRE grant of the British Council, the university started a certificate program in medical teaching back in 2010 which was still running successfully. Director Medical Education Dr. Khalid Rahim Khan said that under this program 150 master trainers would be trained who would change the old mindset regarding medical education. He said that almost half of the participants and facilitators of the workshops would be female.

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Arsalan Haider is a reporter at Academia Mag and has worked with leading national dailies and news channels. He tweets @arsalanhaider14

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