MEDICAL STUDENTS’ INVOLVEMENT IN THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS A Policy Statement of the Medical Students of Europe Istanbul, Turkey, 22nd July 2011 YEDITEPE UNIVERSITY Outcome of the Bologna Process Follow-up Workshop-Yeditepe Organized by European Medical Students’ Association (EMSA) and International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA)
BACKGROUND The students are the core of the university, thus students should be actively involved in academic activities and decisions that are affecting them. Progress in increasing student participation in higher education continues to be slow, with only around one third of respondents to the European Student Union questionnaire, recording a rise compared to 2007 . In particular, there are delays with the implementation of legislation on student participation, where this exists. Only a very small proportion of students’ organizations are satisfied with the current situation, highlighting a need for much greater action to be taken over the next years . Higher education should play a strong role in fostering social cohesion, reducing inequalities and raising the level of knowledge, skills and competences in society . Medical education is not an exception from the situation in general education regarding student involvement and participation in higher education governance.
Student involvement refers to the quantity and quality of the energy that students invest in the experience . Such involvement takes many forms, such as inclusion in academic work, participation in extracurricular activities, and interaction with faculty and other institutional personnel. It is necessary to widen participation at all levels on the basis of equal opportunities. The main problem we identify is that students are not considered to be as relevant as academic staff and other stakeholders are in decision making related to medical education in higher education processes. Getting involved and motivation are linked. Students’ involvement is fundamentally based on motivation. It strongly depends on opportunities, university support, academic staff and educational setting.
OUR POINT OF VIEW We consider students should be equal contributors in the governance of higher education. We believe students are competent, active and constructive partners in the establishment and shaping of educational systems. Students need to be involved in decision-making at all levels, and for their voice to be recognized as of equal value in governance structures. Medical Students’ Involvement in the Educational Process Bologna Process Follow-up Workshop-Yeditepe | Yeditepe University
STUDENT REPRESENTATION Medical faculties should have a policy on student representation and appropriate participation in every important matter in the university. Legislation guaranteeing minimum level of student participation is needed and student representativity assured by a certain percent of votes in all higher education bodies.
The student representatives should be chosen by democratic vote by all students, periodically. The process should be transparent and any student should have equal rights to candidate and be elected. It should be the student representative’s responsibility to facilitate bilateral communication between university and students, by providing clear, understandable information and total transparency. The students elected as representatives should speak on behalf of the student body as a group regardless of their individual opinion.
The students should be assured through their representatives a significant percentage of votes in all decision making bodies of the institution. The university has to provide comprehensive information to students so that they can make informed decisions, as well as providing necessary knowledge in the medical education field. The students should be able to integrate their representation tasks within their academic schedule.
Organized development of student opinion is necessary thus we recommend collaboration and communication within the student body on the local, national and international levels, as well as with other governmental or non-governmental bodies and organizations. STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS Student organizations provide services and programs needed by students which are not directly provided by the institutions .
To support students’ involvement, students’ organizations should be encouraged and facilitated. Student activities and organizations would include student self-government and representation on educational committees and other relevant bodies as well as volunteering and social activities . Student organizations are essential for national and international cooperation between medical students. We acknowledge the important role of all organizations and recommend collaboration and coordination of different student organizations and students structures. POLICY, DECISIONS AND REGULATIONS We believe that students should be involved in all policy, decisions and regulations regarding medical education and higher education governance, at the university level as well as national and international ones. Medical Students’ Involvement in the Educational Process Bologna Process Follow-up Workshop-Yeditepe | Yeditepe University
LEARNING AND TEACHING ACTIVITIES We support an active role of students in their education by engagement in all learning activities e.g. lectures, tutorials, labs, small or large group teaching, developing of education resources and of teaching skills, including formal and informal involvement in collaborative learning and peer teaching. Faculty should be trained to encourage student involvement. CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT Students should be involved in curriculum development by expressing their opinions and contributing to the design, implementation and evaluation of curriculum. Student representatives should participate in curriculum committee. STUDENT-SUPPORT ACTIVITIES The universities should provide career exploration and counseling and involve students in the delivery of them. Students and institutional alumni should be engaged in mentoring and supporting junior students, providing information about developing their education plan by alternative experiences in their home country and abroad, e.g. internships, exchange programs, scholarships, extra-curricular activities. QUALITY ASSURANCE AND INSTITUTIONAL ACCREDITATION Quality of education not only affects students’ academic careers, but to a high degree determines their future lives, thus it is only fair that they have a strong say in accreditation and quality improvement. We see the need to increase the effectiveness of both internal quality assurance systems and student involvement in quality assurance at the institutional level. Additional efforts need to be made in order to properly inform students of present education standards. Finally, students need to be involved in external quality assurance bodies and creation of national and international standards for accreditation.
CONCLUSIONS Students, as partners in the educational system, have the responsibility to bring their own contribution to the educational process. Furthermore, students can bring their own unique perspective to education that can only complete the visions of the rest of the stakeholders. Thus we urge students to take a stand, and governments and higher education institutions to recognize and empower students as key stakeholders.
Medical Students’ Involvement in the Educational Process Bologna Process Follow-up Workshop-Yeditepe | Yeditepe University
1) Bologna with student eyes 2009 (http://www.esib.org/documents/ publications/official_publications/BWSE2009-final.pdf) 2) Astin, A. W., 1984, Student involvement: a developmental theory for higher education, Journal of College Student Development, 40(5), 518-529 (http://www.middlesex.mass.edu/tutoringservices/ downloads/astininv.pdf) 3) UNESCO â€“ The role of student affairs and services in higher education (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001281/128118e. pdf) 4) WFME - The global standards of medical education (http://www3.sund.ku.dk/Activities/WFME%20Standard%20 Documents%20and%20translations/WFME%20Standard.pdf)
Medical Studentsâ€™ Involvement in the Educational Process Bologna Process Follow-up Workshop-Yeditepe | Yeditepe University