Mon, Apr 20, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Polish school defends standards

POLES APART? Medical students have launched a campaign questioning the quality of education in Poland, allegations that Poznan University says are unsubstantiated

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Authorities at the Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland yesterday defended themselves against growing concerns over the competence of medical students returning from Poland, while parents of students studying in Poland complained about the government’s plans to tighten controls on practicing medicine in Taiwan.

At a press conference in Taipei, Poznan University vice president Grzegorz Oszkinis said the 90-year-old school established its English-language program for international students in 1993 based on the US’ medical curriculum and the requirements of the WHO and the US Medical Licensing Examination.

The school has roughly 1,000 international students, the majority of whom come from the US and Canada, while an average of 50 Taiwanese students attend the school every year, he said.

Oszkinis said the school only accepted between 20 percent and 25 percent of applicants and had not prepared special programs for Taiwanese students.

“We were astonished and shocked when we came to Taiwan when we heard that Taiwanese media had started to say that our level of education is too low, especially for Taiwanese students,” Oszkinis said.

Oszkinis argued that the university only had a 70 percent graduation rate and had established strict regulations to ensure the competence of its students.

Showing reporters copies of the evaluation of medical schools in Poland by the Polish authorities last year, Oszkinis said the school usually topped the evaluation list.

“Our graduates are able to work anywhere in Europe ... it’s funny if someone asks us about our recognition,” he said. “We do not agree that our education is at a lower level than your universities.”

The school’s press conference came after local media began to debate whether students who studied medicine in Poland should be allowed to practice medicine in Taiwan.

A number of medical students in Taiwan recently launched an online campaign, questioning the quality of medical education in Poland.

An article posted on the campaign’s Web blog (nopopo.blogspot.com) alleged that any student could study medicine in Poland without having to go through a screening process. The article said that students in Poland lived an easy life, while medical students in Taiwan worked hard.

Hsu Hung-yang (徐鴻洋), a board member of the Taoyuan Medical Association whose son is studying medicine at the university in Poland, said many Taiwanese students studying in Poland may be forced to suspend their education because of a proposed amendment to the law by the Department of Health.

Local media have reported that the Department of Health intends to amend Article 4 of the Physician’s Act (醫師法) so that those who attend medical school in a foreign country would have to complete an internship at a Taiwanese hospital, pass national exams and pass a separate verification of their foreign degrees before practicing in Taiwan.

The health department said yesterday that details of the draft amendment were still under discussion and that if medical students were worried that the proposed tests of their academic qualifications were too strict, the department could discuss the issue with the Ministry of Education.

In response to requests from parents that a cut off date be set so that students who have already graduated from overseas schools be allowed to start practicing in Taiwan without having to take the test, health spokesperson Wang Che-chao (王哲超) said that since the amendment was still under discussion, differing opinions would be taken into consideration.

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