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Improvement of medical personnel: Ministry of Healthcare introduces a new exam for medical university admissions

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Birtanov said that annually about 6,000 students are admitted to medical universities of Kazakhstan. To date, five state and ten non-state universities carry out training of health personnel.

Measures to improve the quality of medical education include the revision of all training programs.

“The government has taken a course on the autonomy of higher education institutions, including medical universities. That is, universities will themselves determine the program, based on market demand. In particular, the demand for clinicians, doctors. Programs will be structured on the basis of modern knowledge. Until the end of the year, we are transforming all our universities into non-profit joint-stock companies,” Birtanov noted.

As a result of this measure, universities will not deduct taxes and any interest to the state: all the money they earn will remain inside universities.

In order to improve the quality of medical education, a project has been launched since 2016 to modernize the system of medical and pharmaceutical education and human resources management. In the framework of this project, top 500 world’s best foreign universities are invited on the Nazarbayev University model: medical schools in the USA, Sweden, Italy, Turkey, Lithuania and Poland.

“Each of the five state universities has a partner university from these countries. Now in each university the first pro-rector is a representative of this foreign university. Their task is to change the programs of education, management, attract foreign teachers, strengthen scientific educational activities, student exchange,” Birtanov informed.

In addition, the minister noted that it is planned to tighten requirements for students upon admission.

“Starting next year, an additional exam for the psychological abilities of future doctors and mandatory external evaluation of students will be introduced. That is, during the studies and at its conclusion students will be evaluated, and diplomas will be issued, not on the basis of the desire of the university itself, but on the basis of the results of the external evaluation,” Birtanov said.

Psychometric testing is aimed at identifying the psychological abilities and inclinations of the future doctor. Attention will be paid to such qualities of the student as humanity, communication skills, stress resistance, the ability for great physical work.

“This selection is very important. This is world practice. We do this in order to train quality doctors and get better results later,” the minister said.

To develop the system of independent assessment of the competence of medical school graduates further, colleges and medical workers of the Ministry of Healthcare prepared a proposal for the draft law “On Amendments and Additions to Some Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan” regarding the assignment of the Ministry’s competence for independent assessment of interns and residency graduates, graduates of medical colleges. According to the minister, this assessment will identify universities that give bad knowledge. They will subsequently be deprived of licenses.

Birtanov also noted that to improve the quality of training of medical personnel in medical schools, the requirements for an average score in the course of transfer from the course to the course have been strengthened, which will make it possible to select talented students in junior courses. So, last year the transition points between the courses were raised, which increased the drop-out from 6-7% to 15%.

Another change proposed by the Ministry of Healthcare is a reduction in the frequency of compulsory certification from once every five years to once every three years. The results of pilot testing show that 95% of students receive the necessary knowledge. However, during the practice begin to lose some knowledge. In the country once in five years there is a mandatory certification of employees � all doctors, nurses are required to re-confirm their knowledge and practical skills. Under the new code, it is proposed to conduct certification every three years.

Source: The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

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