Original Research

Status of undergraduate community-based and public health physiotherapy education South Africa

K. Mostert-Wentzel, J. Frantz, A. J. van Rooijen
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 69, No 1 | a369 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v69i1.369 | © 2013 K. Mostert-Wentzel, J. Frantz, A. J. van Rooijen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 November 2013 | Published: 11 November 2013

About the author(s)

K. Mostert-Wentzel, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
J. Frantz, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
A. J. van Rooijen, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Full Text:

PDF (328KB)

Share this article

Bookmark and Share


Curricula of health education institutions need to be periodically revised to be aligned with its context. This study explored the status of physiotherapy curricula in South Africa as point of departure for benchmarking by individual institutions. A document analysis was done of the university physiotherapy departments (N=8) in South Africa. institutional ethical clearance and permission from the heads of departments were obtained. Content analysis was used to analyse the South African Qualifications Authority exit-level outcomes and the university study guides for community placements. Most universities employed a form of service-learning, with interventions in a range of settings. Five themes emerged: practice of evidence-based physiotherapy, rendering physiotherapy services, acting professionally, communication, and collaboration. The country’s priority conditions were addressed. Teaching-learning strategies included group activities (class or education sessions), community projects, home visits and portfolios of evidence. Personal and small-group reflections were prominent. The undergraduate community physiotherapy curricula in South Africa address the health profile of the population and priorities in the health system to different degrees. The variation between universities should be interpreted with caution as the study guides only gave a limited snapshot into each institution’s curriculum. However, findings suggest that each physiotherapy university department may have gaps in preparing physiotherapy undergraduate students for the needs of the South African population and expectations of the government. Possible ways to share teaching-learning resources are recommended


Education; Community; Public Health; Service Learning; Document Analysis


Total abstract views: 1077
Total article views: 955


Crossref Citations

1. Mapping Evidence on Community-Based Clinical Education Models for Undergraduate Physiotherapy Students: Protocol for a Scoping Review
Nomzamo Charity Thobekile Chemane, Verusia Chetty, Saul Cobbing
JMIR Research Protocols  vol: 9  issue: 10  first page: e19039  year: 2020  
doi: 10.2196/19039