Teaching dentistry in Uganda and Sweden

Four teachers from the Makerere University Dental School in Uganda recently visited the study programme in Dentistry at KI as part of the Linnaeus-Palme programme.

Nagihan Bostanci, head of international committee for dental programmes, welcoming the teachers from Makerere University Photo: N/A

Conny Abrahamsson, coordinating the collaboration within Dentistry with Makerere University, and Carl Gustav Svensson, were responsible for a two-week programme for our visiting teachers Barbara Ndagire, Mary Juliet Nannozi, Samantha Kachwinya and Umaru Kizito from Makerere University Dental School. The programme included visits to clinics, demonstration of simulations, participation in teaching and presentations. Meeting to discuss research and teaching and learning were also arranged.

Dinner at the restaurant Knut
Teacher exchange in dentistry from Uganda Photo: N/A

Before departing the visiting teachers and members of the international committee from the study programme in Dentistry as well as the vice president Anders Gustafsson gathered for a dinner with typical food from north Sweden at restaurant "Knut", which was much appreciated.

About the teaching methods

One of the visiting teachers also studying for her PhD, Mary Juliet Nannozi, reflected upon the different and similar ways  of teaching and learning in her report. Here below is an extract.

The students are taught through a number of ways.  During their pre-clinical years, the students are given lectures, the watch videos, work on assimilators and in endodontic the students do their cleaning and shaping sessions on the plastic blocks. I found this very a very inspirational experience for the students because they clearly get to understand what happens with the natural setting. They understand the clogging, effect, perforation, spillage in the peri-apical area etc.

Self-assessment and reflection

Another interesting thing I observed in both the pre- clinical and the clinical years, was the fact that the students have a self-assessment session when the jot down their personal reflections of what they have been able to achieve per session and what they have to go back and improve. Their supervisors were very vigilant in guiding the students to achieve their learning objectives.

Comparison of teaching methods

In both universities, the teaching methods are quite similar. These include lectures, seminars, group discussions, pre-clinical phantom laboratory work, pre-clinical demonstration and clinical sessions. The different courses are taught in blocks; that is to say at a specific period. However, in my university, the students do not have the simulators and the plastic blocks to practice on so as to get the real natural experience. In Karolinska Institutet,  the students  have all the necessary instruments and materials for the practical work, they tend to be more vigilant in watching their demonstration videos before coming to the practical sessions hence are more self-motivated and organized in the clinic.

The students have not been taught to have personal assessment reflections which I realize is very crucial in the learning process. It’s one of the things I have learnt and wish to implement immediately.