Case Report

Addressing change in physiotherapy education in South Africa

Seyi L. Amosun, Soraya Maart, Niri Naidoo
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 74, No 1 | a431 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v74i1.431 | © 2018 Seyi L. Amosun, Soraya Maart, Niri Naidoo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 September 2017 | Published: 27 March 2018

About the author(s)

Seyi L. Amosun, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Soraya Maart, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Niri Naidoo, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Recent demands for the decolonisation of curriculum in South Africa present challenges to students, academics and other stakeholders. This resulted in tensions in tertiary institutions, cumulating in student-led protests. The authors hypothesised that the lack of shared understanding of what this unexplored process may entail contributed to the dilemma.

Objective: The aim of this opinion article is to highlight some of the possible contributors to the uncertainties in addressing this critical issue, especially as it relates to the demands for change in physiotherapy education.

Method: To formulate our opinion, the authors reviewed literature relating to transformation in education in South Africa generally, and physiotherapy education specifically.

Results: While there is an opportunity to address the demand for change in physiotherapy education in South Africa, there is the possibility that the use of words, such as transformation, decolonisation and decoloniality, present different connotations to students and academics.

Conclusion: It is of vital importance to create formal discourse which includes students, academics and other stakeholders that will facilitate shared understanding about what the previously unexplored and unmapped processes of engagement entail. The change process in physiotherapy education is envisaged to be a partnership between students and academic staff having common understanding about the processes and responsibilities, and must be addressed comprehensively.

Clinical implications: Aligning the change process in physiotherapy education with the decolonisation agenda will strengthen the South African health care system by ensuring that physiotherapy students are adequately prepared to provide service to patients within a context that acknowledges the uniqueness of South African communities.


Keywords

Decolonisation; Transformation; Decoloniality; Physiotherapy Education; Physiotherapy Students; South Africa

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