|Year : 2015 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 1-2
Project-based faculty development: Indian perspectives
Program Director, CMCL-FAIMER Regional Institute, Department of Pediatrics, and Medical Education, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, Punjab, India
|Date of Web Publication||5-Aug-2015|
Dr. Tejinder Singh
CMCL-FAIMER Regional Institute, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana - 141 008, Punjab
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Singh T. Project-based faculty development: Indian perspectives. Int J App Basic Med Res 2015;5, Suppl S1:1-2
Faculty development (FD) is considered a vital input to maintain and improve the quality of teaching.  In developing countries like ours, the challenge is 2-fold - on one hand, there is shortage of medical schools to produce the required number of graduates and on the other hand, unprepared teachers are not able to deliver quality medical education. The issue has warranted attention since last many years and culminated in the establishment of National Teacher Training Centers (NTTCs) at 5 medical schools in the country in 1976. These NTTCs used to impart a 6-10 days long program covering various aspects of teaching and learning.  However, most of these courses were one contact courses, without much follow-up, although at some places, the concept of a project work was introduced. There were some gains in terms of many teachers opting for these courses and later duplicating them in their own institutions. However, there was no proper follow-up of these programs in terms of documenting their impact or effectiveness.
Over the years, many other institutions like All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi also ventured into this area with a focused approach like assessment. A large number of teachers were "trained," but again the content delivery remained limited to the contact sessions only, with hardly any follow-up. The Medical Council of India in its 1997 regulations also mandated the establishment of medical education units in each college, which were required to conduct in-house training sessions.  Most of the times, these sessions were a replication of the training received at NTTCs or other avenues and got standardized as a 3 day workshop format, with a day each being devoted to objectives, teaching learning and assessment.
FD is an expensive affair with both direct and indirect costs contributing to the burden. Its equivalent - human resource development - is often used in the industry as a means to maintain quality and the impact is often monitored. The utility of any program will manifest only if the participants take the knowledge and skills back to the workplace. This process called transfer of training is crucial for the success of any such initiative. It is estimated that not more than 20% of what is learned is actually used at the workplace.  We do not have any data for FD, but it is reasonable to assume that the figure would not be more than this. There are many reasons for the lack of transfer,  the prominent ones being training which is conceptually different from actual working conditions.
In the year 2005, Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) established its first regional institute (FRI) for FD in Mumbai, followed by one in 2006 in Ludhiana. The curriculum used in FRIs was different from the programs being offered till now,  in the sense that it was a longitudinal program spanning over 2 years (and even longer if the participant so desired) and emphasized the importance of educational networking and educational leadership, in addition to basing its curriculum on project-based learning model.
An educational innovation project is an essential component of FAIMER training (in addition to being one of the selection criteria). The fellows propose the outline of an innovation project with their application. During the contact sessions, the faculty and peers help them to modify their project in an implementable shape. A large chunk of training is devoted to project management and evaluation with use of program evaluation tools. It is based on the assumption that carrying out the project will provide the fellows an opportunity for hands on applying what they learn. In addition, it will also bring visibility to the efforts being made across various institutions.
The regulatory authority of medical education in India - Medical Council of India - also gave an impetus to FD by initiating a nationwide FD program in 2009 named as basic course,  with the objective of covering almost 100% of the medical teachers to basic concepts of education. The program was well accepted and 5 years down the line, over 20,000 teachers have been covered. Encouraged by the success, the Medical Council of India came out with an advanced course, now renamed as Fellowship in Medical Education in 2014,  which again is based on the concept of project based learning.
In this special issue of the journal on the theme of "Innovations in Medical Education Technology," you will find examples of various innovative projects carried out by fellows for one of these programs. They may not be as rigorous as randomized controlled trials, but they indicate a trend of change and a small effort by enthusiastic teachers to make medical education better so that it can help us to produce a healthy India.
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