The University of Gondar has hosted its first-ever needs assessment and curriculum workshop for Occupational Therapy from October 18-23, 2019. The first steps in creating a well organized and quality OT Program at the University of Gondar is set in motion and the momentum will undoubtedly lead to a new profession being created in today’s Ethiopian workforce. Various guests and stakeholders from home and abroad attended and took part in the needs assessment and international workshop.
Since OT is a relatively new study area in Ethiopia the Program staff at UoG, in coordination with their Queens University counterparts, organized a well thought out and meticulous 5 day needs assessment session. Professionals from all over came to offer their experiences and advice on how the OT program should look and operate at UoG. University of Gondar staff, professionals from Ghana and Uganda, OT staff from Queens University, Canada and OT PhD candidates all put in their fair share of ideas.
The University of Gondar and Queens University, Canada are working together to establish Ethiopia’s first Occupational Therapy Bachelor of Science degree program at UoG by 2021.
Some of the talking points in the needs assessment discourse included, among others, developing a philosophy and purpose of the OT program, developing general and specific objectives of the program, observing lessons from other OT programs, developing course information, figuring out the mode of delivery, assessment strategies, and the likes.
Such a comprehensive needs assessment, with various scholars and professionals, is exactly what this program needs to get up and running by 2021. In his opening remarks on the opening day of the occasion, President of UoG Dr. Asrat Atsedeweyn shared his thoughts on what OT means to the University of Gondar.
“As we are committed to expand and strengthen rehabilitation education in Ethiopia, we are working to establish the first Occupational Therapy Bachelor of Science degree program in Ethiopia by 2021.”
Dr. Asrat expressed that the need for the Occupational Therapy profession has been investigated scientifically in Ethiopia and that countries that cater to the OT profession will be apart of Ethiopia’s growing network.
Dr. Asrat concluded by saying, “We may not see a whole lot of these professionals in Ethiopia currently, but I am hopeful that in the near future the science and techniques associated with the profession will benefit this country tremendously.” He continued, “that is why this workshop and needs assessment means a lot, not only to our university but also to the wider Ethiopian community who will be looking at us for the next best treatment.”
The needs assessment group came to a consensus that the discussion and talks went a long way, but for the most part, the development of the program will be an ongoing effort. Some of the next steps moving forward included figuring out admission guidelines, time frames for a national workshop, compatibility of course content and figuring out teaching methods.
Over a 10 year span, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program will offer 45 PhD and 16 Masters Degree opportunities in Occupational Therapy at Queens University, Canada.
By Samuel Malede| Scholars Program Communications Coordinator