|Year : 2003 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 15-17
Standards in medical education and GCC countries
Fahad A Al-Muhanna1, Veluvali V Subbaroa2
1 College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of physiology, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
|Date of Web Publication||30-Jul-2012|
Fahad A Al-Muhanna
College of Medicine, King Faisal University
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Al-Muhanna FA, Subbaroa VV. Standards in medical education and GCC countries. J Fam Community Med 2003;10:15-7
The increasing demand for high standards in medical education in this era of globalization makes the task of defining global standards in medical education ever more pressing. The areas of paramount importance are: (A) The definition of standards in medical education. (B) The importance of standards. (C) The role of standards in the improvement of medical schools in the GCC countries.
Definition of standards in medical education
No single definition of standards is adequate. Collin's English dictionary defines 'standard' as an accepted or approved example of something against which others are judged or measured.  The maintenance of standards is vital. Standards in medical education are professional attitudes, ethics and statements about knowledge and clinical skills graduates should have, and be able to demonstrate. Several attempts have been made with regard to the structure, process or product of medical education. In 1991, the World Health Organization (WHO) made an attempt to define standards of medical education in terms of the needs of the local community. The product of this education was defined as a five-star doctor (care provider, decision maker, communicator, community leader, and team member).  World Federation of Medical Education (WFME) in 1988, launched a program on international standards in medical education, to develop standards, as a tool for quality improvement.  However, standard-based reform can be a powerful technique for bringing about changes that would improve the quality of education. Karle stated that the objective of all these processes is to equip the graduates with the necessary knowledge and skills as well as professional attitudes and ethics.  Efforts have been made over the years to improve the quality of medical education and the social responsiveness of medical schools through proposed guidelines and benchmarks.  Indicators of standards-based teaching and learning describes the impact of standards related to curriculum on clinical practice and the degree awarded.
Importance of standards
In general, standards help to identify strengths and weakness severing as pointers to specific areas of instruction where improvements are necessary for academic attainment. The academic grades reflecting students' knowledge and skills could be designated competence standards. Curriculum is the means of structuring content for delivery and the implications of curriculum design in relation to local, regional and global standards are of vital importance in the changing ideas on the future role of doctors.  A curriculum should have substance, purpose and practice, that is how a topic should be taught. Global standards of medical education are structured according to areas and sub areas (WFME).
GCC countries medical education and the concept of health for all by 2020
The GCC countries are committed to the international concept of health for all in the 21 st century with a target date of 2020 adopted by the WHO in 1998 and the global declaration to bring this HFA policy into function by implementing appropriate regional and national policies. As such, health services of all countries are directed towards providing basic health services through an integrated approach. To achieve this, doctors graduating from the medical colleges should be adequately trained. It has been globally recognized that the type of medical education currently in practice cannot accomplish this. A radical change in the medical education is therefore necessary. The GCC countries though unique in character also recognize this need for change. Consequently it is desirable that a uniform strategy of medical education be developed from economic point of view for GCC countries with the common aim of producing doctors who have knowledge, skills and attitudes that are adequate to provide comprehensive health care to their people and promote health for all by 2020.
Uniform standards of medical education in the GCC countries are not only desirable but also necessary. Methods of common accreditation standards must be evolved throughout the region. The first GCC conference of the faculties of medicine was thus called to identify methods of improving the educational programs of the GCC medical faculties.  A unanimous decision was reached amongst the Deans on the need of continued interaction amongst the Medical School faculties in the region. As a follow-up a second conference was organized at King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, the theme of which was "Medical Education - Future Perspectives". There was a discussion on trends in curriculum planning, and medical curriculum in Saudi Medical Colleges. , The GCC Medical Colleges Deans Committee while addressing their responsibility towards the improvement of medical education in the GCC countries, took the initiative of making recommendations and proposals for the formulation of guidelines of standards of accrediting medical schools in countries in the Arabian gulf. 
A third conference with the theme, "Standards of Medical Education in the era of globalization" was held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. At this conference, a question of the possibility of common curricula for all GCC countries was posed.
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