HUYE - Final results of the final theoretical and clinical examinations held between November and December for final year (doctorate IV) medical students at the National University of Rwanda (NUR) indicate that only 14 of the 58 who sat the exams passed.
The results indicate that 34 students will have to re-sit clinical, written or clerkship examinations while two will have to repeat the final year.
Pediatrics, surgery and gynecology/obstetrics departments recorded the highest number of re-sit cases both in the clinical and written examinations.
Commenting on the poor results, Dr Bon Fils Safari, the director of quality at the university, said that this could have been partly due to the new style of examination introduced at the final undergraduate and post graduate level.
“We have introduced the concept of external examiners among other changes, something our students are not used to, they have been used to sitting for one clinical examination and facing a panel of local examiners,” said Safari.
“We have to keep up with these changes if we are to improve the quality of medical doctors that we produce, doctors who can compete on the regional labour market,” he added.
Students who have an average 60 percent in a subject or department but fail to score at least 50 percent in one examination are expected to re-sit that particular examination, contrary to the past, where students passed basing on the general average score.
Gad Murenzi, the representative of the final year medical students, said that training at the senior clerkship level has to be improved if the university is to produce competent doctors.
“Students deployed in various hospitals during clerkship are not well supervised, we are trained poorly, but when the external examiners come they expect much more from us,” Murenzi said.
He demanded for objectivity from the examining panels which he said mocked them during the oral examination sessions.
In a detailed report made by the class after the examinations were held, students highlighted a number of issues that they thought would cause them to perform poorly even before the results were released.
“The time given during the clinical examination was insufficient, in most cases the candidate was expected to take a history, do a thorough physical examination and have a discussion with the examiners in only 15 minutes,” the report reads in part.
“In some cases the examiner would give the candidate a vague brief history and then ask the candidate to do a physical exam or ask the candidate to give a diagnosis or worse, ask the candidate to take a history, carry out a physical examination and present to the panel where no questions were asked,” the report continues.
According to Dr Charles Muhizi, from the faculty of medicine, the true picture of the failure rate will be seen after the second sitting in January next year.
“It is not a catastrophe,” he said.
He however noted that the faculty had to get tough because in the past, students were passing at an abnormally high level. He said that external examiners were introduced to ensure the quality of doctors produced at the university.