Factors affecting the academic performance of optometry students in Mozambique
Optometry and Vision Science
Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland; Brien Holden Vision Institute, Durban, South Africa; African Vision Research Institute, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; Optometry Department, Dublin Institute of Technology, 19A Kevin Street, Dublin 8, Ireland
Purpose. The Mozambique Eyecare Project is a higher education partnership for the development, implementation, and evaluation of a model of optometry training at UniLúrio in Mozambique. There are many composite elements to the development of sustainable eye health structures, and appropriate education for eye health workers remains a key determinant of successful eye care development. However, from the first intake of 16 students, only 9 students graduated from the program, whereas only 6 graduated from the second intake of 24 students. This low graduation rate is attributable to a combination of substandard academic performance and student dropout. The aim of this article was to identify factors affecting the academic performance of optometry students in Mozambique. Methods. Nine lecturers (the entire faculty) and 15 students (9 from the first intake and 6 from the second) were recruited to the study. Clinical competency assessments were carried out on the students, semistructured individual interviews were conducted with the course lecturers, and a course evaluation questionnaire was completed by students. The results were combined to understand the complexities surrounding the optometry student training and performance. Results. One student out of nine from the first intake and three students out of six from the second were graded as competent in all the elements of the refraction clinical competency examination. Analysis of data from the interviews and questionnaire yielded four dominant themes that were viewed as important determinants of student refraction competencies: student learning context, teaching context, clinic conditions and assessment, and the existing operating health care context. Conclusions. The evaluations have helped the university and course partners to better structure the teaching and adapt the learning environments by recommending a preparatory year and a review of the curriculum and clinic structure, implementing more transparent entry requirements, increasing awareness of the program, and improving Internet infrastructure. Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Optometry.
Computer aided instruction; Curricula; Education; Education computing; Optometers; Refraction; Surveys; Teaching; Vision; Academic performance; Course evaluations; Learning context; lecturer interviews; Mozambique; Students; clinical competence; curriculum; education; female; human; middle aged; Mozambique; optometry; questionnaire; standards; teaching; Clinical Competence; Curriculum; Educational Measurement; Female; Humans; Middle Aged; Mozambique; Optometry; Questionnaires; Teaching