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Unified National Medical Assessment: An Approach Towards Meeting the Needs of the Population During the Syrian Crisis

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Major Challenges Facing Higher Education in the Arab World: Quality Assurance and Relevance


The Syrian crisis has tremendously affected the process of quality assurance in universities and prevented medical institutions from achieving accreditation. The focus on traditional teaching and hospital-oriented education has prevented the appropriate response to community needs. Medical Faculties are struggling to modernize and to move towards an integrated model that can produce health-oriented professionals who are able to work for health promotion, disease prevention, and cure. There is a need to shift from a focus on what happens in medical faculties to what is needed in practice. The production of health professionals in the required numbers and adequate quality is of critical importance. It is essential for both health and education professionals to recognize that learning in communities, through the education-health partnership have many advantages. Moreover, it is of critical value to maintain minimum standards of medical education in fragile contexts and to produce competent graduates who are able to provide the best appropriate urgent care to Syrian society. The Unified National Medical Exam UNME has been utilized as a standardized assessment tool for measuring the output of universities and assessing the quality of the education in medical schools affected by the current conditions. The UNME is designed to make sure that the learning outcomes have been achieved so graduates can provide safe and high-quality health care to patients. It is the simplest and the least expensive tool that has been implemented to assess the competencies of all graduates, and to provide feedback and to measure student performance, effectiveness of the teaching situation, and assess appropriateness of the content input. The UNME has achieved its goal in fulfilling the requirements of the current demanding situation. National assessments, including the UNME, have been a bright spot in the history of Syrian higher education despite the difficulties faced. It proved a success for its validity, reliability, integrity, transparency and ability to stimulate students, teachers and universities despite the circumstances. The implementation of the UNME, its methodology, challenges, and achievements will be presented. The adoption of innovative approaches is vital and the presence of relevant curriculum, which directly responds to increasing community needs, is the major step towards decreasing the burden on education and health systems in Syria.

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Correspondence to Mayssoon Dashash .

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Dashash, M. (2019). Unified National Medical Assessment: An Approach Towards Meeting the Needs of the Population During the Syrian Crisis. In: Badran, A., Baydoun, E., Hillman, J.R. (eds) Major Challenges Facing Higher Education in the Arab World: Quality Assurance and Relevance. Springer, Cham.

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