Jazan province is located in the south-west of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The province is offlicted with a wide spectrum of diseases and therefore have a special need for more health services. The Faculty of Medicine at Jazan has been following the traditional curriculum since its inception in 2001. The traditional curriculum has been criticized because of the students inability to relate what they learned in the basic sciences to medicine, thus stifling their motivation. It was felt that much of what was presented in preclinical courses was irrelevant to what the doctor really needed to know for his practice. The College therefore, decided to change to an integrated curriculum.
The study was conducted in 2004-2005 in the Faculty of Medicine, Jazan University. It began with a literature survey/search for relevant information and a series of meetings with experts from various institutions. A Curriculum Committee was formed and a set of guiding principles was prepared to help develop the new curriculum. A standard curriculum writing format was adopted for each module. It was decided that an independent evaluation of the new curriculum was to be done by experts in medical education before submission for official approval. There were several difficulties in the course of designing the curriculum, such as: provision of vertical integration, the lack of preparedness of faculty to teach an integrated curriculum, and difficulties inherent in setting a truly integrated examination.
The program designed is for 6 years and in 3 phases; pre-med (year 1), organ/system (years 2 and 3), and clinical clerkship (years 4, 5, and 6). This is to be followed by a year of Internship. The pre-med phase aims at improving the students’ English language and prepare them for the succeeding phases. The organ/ system phase includes the integrated systems and the introductory modules. The curriculum includes elective modules, early clinical training, behavioral sciences, medical ethics, biostatistics, computer practice, and research methods. The curriculum provides active methods of instruction that include: small group discussion/ tutorials, problem-based learning (PBL), case-study/ clinical presentations, seminars, skills practice (clinical skill lab), practical, demonstration, and student independent learning. Methods of evaluating students include continuous and summative assessment.
The new curriculum adopted by the Jazan Faculty of Medicine is an integrated, organ/ system based, community-oriented, with early clinical skills, elective modules, and innovative methods of instructions.