Evaluation of practices applied in the curriculum design and implementation of the Medical Laboratory Technology Diploma Programme in Uganda
Mugisha, Wilson Rwandembo
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A Study to evaluate the practices applied during the curriculum design and implementation of the Medical Laboratory Technology Programme (MLTP) in Uganda was conducted at Mulago Paramedical Schools (MPS). The study was triggered by the fact that several curriculum reviews of the MLTP have taken place and yet no curriculum evaluation has ever taken place to justify the reviews. The study reviewed the development of the MLT diploma programme and discussed the current status of the MLT training in Uganda. It investigated the implementation process and the relevancy of the current curriculum to its antecedents and contexts. The theoretical framework of the study was in the participatory action research paradigm within the action reflection cycle. It was based on the Roos Model (Roos, 2000). The Roos Model was a modification of the Stakes Model (Stake, 1967). The research process involved working with the curriculum implementers while carrying out the study. It included conducting a situational analysis, carrying out a questionnaire survey and conducting focus group interviews. A review of the programme developments that took place overtime was undertaken. The report included ethical consideration approaches which ensured data quality. The study results showed that viable educational principles, curriculum antecedents and contexts had been considered during the curriculum development. Secondly the implementation process was based on existing viable educational theories and principles. The concept curriculum, its context, implementation and evaluation have also been discussed. A disagreement was however found between the Educators and Clinical supervisors regarding the relevance of practicum assessment to curriculum implementation. From the study results the Educators at the SMLT at MPS discovered ineffectiveness in implementation of Information Communication Technology (ICT), learner projects and management. The study found that in Health Sciences’ education curriculum antecedents significantly affect the relevancy of the curriculum. Thus, updating of content alone does not necessarily check a hidden curriculum. They also agreed that the curriculum organisation was not in line with current trends. In consultation with the researcher, educators made the necessary modification on the curriculum and its implementation. The conclusion of the study indicated that the curriculum at MPS was relevant to its antecedents and contexts and that its implementation was based to substantive principles and theories. It was concluded that continuous curriculum evaluation checks and balances of the development and operation of a hidden curriculum and that participatory Action research allows curriculum implementers to participate and appreciate findings of the research, which is certainly ideal for process evaluation. It was further concluded that the different interpretation of the aims and expected outcomes of the curriculum by the educators and clinical supervisors was in itself a hidden curriculum in the implementation of the programme in the practicum sites. The study proposed a model to follow while implementing the Health Sciences curricula. The model is dynamic and aims at addressing the ever-changing curriculum contexts and concerns of the various stakeholders who are involved and affected by the development and implementation of the curriculum. It comprises of continuous scanning of the various systems involved in curriculum innovation, implementing the innovation and the user environment. This can be done through situational analysis, sharing results of the analysis with stakeholders and making appropriate adjustments. This is likely to encourage cooperation among the different stakeholders as well as checking the hidden curriculum. It is recommended that regular studies on curriculum development and implementation be conducted.