Friday, June 29, 2012

The School of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy – HND – As against – BSc in Physiotherapy from Colombo and Peradeniya!


There is an established (since 1957) School of Physio and Occu Therapy affiliated to the National Hospital Colombo. It trains physiotherapists on a 2 year program for an HND to absorb into hospitals by the Ministry of Health. It is considered a vocational institute that gives focused job training.  Practical training in the National Hospital is an integral part of the course, where they go on rounds and help with physical therapy for recovering patients. I was also given physical therapy from these students when I was recuperating in hospital after surgery for a broken femur.

The syllabus given is outdated and apparently not changed since 1956. They take students with basic A levels and as it is a diploma awarding institution it required minimal entry standards that included aptitude tests. However lately it has been decided only to recruit a number of students from Provincial levels, so that after training they can be sent back there to work. So a provincial allocation has just been gazzeted that has done away with aptitude tests and made entry even easier. This is likely to reduce their standard. Further the quantity intake is not based on any criteria, but on the whims of the Government as to how many they require leading to inconsistent entry requirements. It must be noted that these students get a stipend of Rs12,000 a month during their training period for the two year Higher National Diploma.(HND)

In the meantime, the Applied Health Sciences Faculties of both the University of Colombo and the University of Peradeniya have established a Special Degree program in Physical Therapy leading to a BSc in Physical Therapy. This is a 4 year course that commenced in 2006, where the first batch qualified 18months previously and have yet to receive appointments into the Health Department.

Each University churns out 30 students each year, only giving the country 60 graduates a year qualified in Physical Therapy, none of whom have yet received appointments into the Health Department hospitals.

There is a pay anomaly, where the diploma holder is on pay scale similar to nurses. The degree holders currently have not been assigned a pay scale and this may be part of the reason for them not receiving appointments as yet. Those Graduates are now agitating for a pay scale commensurate with their qualifications, higher than for the HND holders.
They fear that the Health department does not wish to give them a higher grade, explaining the delay in appointments. They have been promised  that the School of Physiotherapy will be closed once these graduates come out, so they will not face any competition. I must also mention that there are over a thousand vacancies in the Health Sector that are not filled for physical therapy and the current carder in all the hospitals is only 390.

Physical Therapy is the career in greatest demand the world over and the need for physical therapists in Sri Lanka is immense as there are thousands of patients who require physical therapy. It is therefore ironic that we in Sri Lanka have over 60 physical therapy graduates without employment appointments in the state health services sector.

My personal opinion is that both the school and the degree program MUST run in tandem as they cater to the needs at different levels. The request by the degree holders to close the school is unreasonable as we need both Diploma Holders and Degree Holders to cater to the demand. The school should perhaps come clean and change the syllabus to a more current and relevant format so that the finger cannot be pointed as to the quality of the education that they receive.

It is important to pay the graduates on a higher scale commensurate to their qualification. The entry requirement for these undergrads is on a par with medical students, and dental school, so they believe it is important they receive a wage commensurate to the standard of work they perform. It is also apparent the reason they have not received appointment letters is that they have not been able to agree on their pay scale, that the new graduates demand. They will not accept the same grade as the diploma holders. The demand for the closure of the Physiotherapy school as mentioned earlier is unfair. We need even lower qualified people to do this work in the private and public sector and should not encourage exclusivity. The quality of the degree is on a par with University Education overseas and so they MUST NOT impose the closure. The university syllabus is current, and will fulfill all requirements of International Employment as there is a shortage of physical therapists.

I believe graduates of Physical Therapy must be hired at the appropriate pay scale. I also believe the school should continue churning out two year diploma holders, which also fills a great void in the national requirements, both for Degree Holders AND Diploma Holders.

I wish to point out that there are private tertiary institutions that also do HND programs that are recognized for further study overseas and affiliated to overseas colleges as well as this is a profession in high demand world wide and is also a profitable venture for the private institutions to offer. With the ever increasing private tertiary establishments it is likely that more will crop up and also will be in demand by private hospitals if the quality of their output exceeds that of the state institutions. This will force the state institutions to compete at a higher level improving the quality of their courses to keep up to date.

The pressure therefore MUST be on the state to improve their output otherwise their intake will suffer, and the fee paying student gain the upper hand in this profession as well. Another rich v poor, and state v private sector battle!!

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

here the HND should be corrected as "diploma". because earlier it was mentioned as "certificate course" and now it has upgraded to the "diploma" level.but not to the "HND(HIGHER NATIONAL DIPLOMA)" level yet.
Other thing is B.Sc in Physiotherapy degree is awarded by the Faculty of medicine,University of Colombo and Faculty of Allied health sciences,University of Peradeniya.

Siriniaml said...

When the MBBS course upgraded to the present level they stopped training Apothecary doctors. So this should also solved in that manner. I cant see the point of recruiting more diploma holders to health sector..rather Physiotherapy graduates..

Kasun said...

As the general public,they always like to have an expertise health service rather than having general health service.
Because being healthy is the most valuable than being rich.That is why people going to see specialist doctors when they get ill without considering their economical status.
But in the physiotherapy field,the expertise physiotherapy service can only be get by the high socio-economic groups in the society.Recent examples are Minister of mass media Mr.Keheliya Rambukwella and MP Duminda Silva.They are undergoing expertise physiotherapy treatments at foreign countries respectively in Australia and Singapore(after came back to Srilanka,Mr.Rambukwella is still undergoing Physiotherapy treatment at "REVIVAL PHYSIOTHERAPY CENTRE"currently provide expertise physiotherapy service by both foreign and Srilankan Physiotherapy graduates).Because these countries have updated with latest technology of physiotherapy and upgraded their entry level qualification to physiotherapy practice in the country to the degree level for many years ago.

DSP said...

I'm sorry for saying this..But every one should know this...
The students are selected to the diploma course by A/L results...
It means,the students who don't get the chance to enter the university in any fields will get the chance in physio school.
Mostly other students who get more than this Zscore will enter in any fields(agri,science,low,food & ect..) to the university.
But the students who selected to the Bsc physio to the university, need very high Zscore. In Most of the districts very little points are less to Medicine.There are some students drop the dental and join to the degree of physio...
When the diploma in physiotherapy countinues, the students who have got less Zscore is also will get the chance to do the same degree.
So what is the use of getting high Zscore in A/L..& Studying without salary....? & What about others who had got more Zscore than diploma & selected to the other faculties in universities...?

leehuck said...

Occupational therapy is a very quick growing field, and this is due to a variety of reasons. This has led more prospective students to become interested in employment opportunities in the field, and right at the top of that list is the profession of an occupational therapy. View the site for more info.

ANURA said...

01.stop school
02.Give opportunity to in government service diploma holders to upgrade to degree level
03. start degree level service
04.Expand B.Sc course to other universities

ANURA said...

01.stop school
02.Give opportunity to in government service diploma holders to upgrade to degree level
03. start degree level service
04.Expand B.Sc course to other universities

ANURA said...

01.stop school
02.Give opportunity to in government service diploma holders to upgrade to degree level
03. start degree level service
04.Expand B.Sc course to other universities

ANURA said...

01.stop school
02.Give opportunity to in government service diploma holders to upgrade to degree level
03. start degree level service
04.Expand B.Sc course to other universities

ANURA said...

01.stop school
02.Give opportunity to in government service diploma holders to upgrade to degree level
03. start degree level service
04.Expand B.Sc course to other universities

leehuck said...

Occupational therapy is a health profession whose goal is to help people achieve independence, meaning and satisfaction in all aspects of their lives. Read more for more info.

Anonymous said...

Im an Occupational Therapy Masters student in Australia (im sri Lankan). I had no idea that the entry criteria for the Dimploma course was as such and that qualified Physios get the same salary as nurses. In Australia they have Physio and OT as a BSc and masters, but since lately they're trying to make it entirely a masters degree, to which graduates with a Bsc. in health science/ biology/ sports science/ medical science can apply to. I dont know why Sri Lanka has such a low opinion or emphasis on allied health as they are just as important as doctors, and need to have professional standards as they are dealing with the people's lives. I hope this outlook will change soon, and they will make a Bsc in OT too in Sri lanka. but it might have the same plight as the phyisio degree.

Anonymous said...

Hello
I am a student who have been selected to follow the diploma in physiotherapy in the newest batch..guys dnt look at this in a view varying as a degree and a diploma..because we were selected from the z score..and the student who has selected to this with the maximum zscore, she almost have a z of 1.6 .minimum was 1. .
I got ABC IN MY ALVLS AND i have a of 1.59 .all the students in our diploma batch has a z which select them to folliw a degree programme in gvrnment university..even me was also in a university and i was following a paramedicsl degree..most of our students left thier degree and came to follow this diploma..if you think about physiotherapy degree..,, there are students in their batches who are almost having less z than us..pls keep that inur mind..even tbis year we have stusents in medical faculties who got less z and selected medicine from badulla..bandarawela..manaar and etc..people who talk abt yhis diplima y dnt u talk abt this..if i was in such district i am a medical studnt today..with out knowing everything dnt speak like this..guys..dnt eat the grass tip..eat the whole bush..

Robert shero said...

I did my A/L in 2013. I got C grade in Physics, Biology and S Grade in Chemistry. My Z-Score is 0.5540. I'm from Nuwara Eliya. Iam very interested to become anoccupational therapist.How i Conduct my course and get a best career in this field. please reply me soon.

Anonymous said...

friends its a best course to study but now i am confused because i received a peoples bank appionment can u tell me good sugession

Robert shero said...

Think well and do whats good for you. think well. Can you please tell me how i can get the applications for occupational therapy in National Hospital Colombo. when the gezzete will be issued

Anonymous said...

Dear Robert,
Next batch will recruit soon in 2015 - Provincial basis. There is a paper advertisement about that in Lankadeepa News Paper 19th Wednesday March 2014.Also refer the coming Gazette 28th March 2014.
Best Regards!

Robert shero said...

i have applied to physiotherapy this year(2014). when will i get the response from the administration. yet i didn't got any response from them.

jaspreet singh said...

is it that? than what are the options for the students

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