The changing profile of medical education in South Africa
Healthcare provision still has problems hanging over from the apartheid era
- By: Dan J Ncayiyana
Medical education in South Africa is undergoing dramatic changes in response to a variety of influences (see box 1), chief among which is the end of apartheid and the subsequent transition to democratic rule following the 1994 elections. In the apartheid era, South Africa's eight medical schools admitted students according to ethnicity and language. Three admitted only black students, three admitted only white students with a preference for Afrikaans as the language of instruction, and two admitted whites and used English as the language of instruction (see box 2). The university of Cape Town (UCT) and the university of the Witwatersrand (Wits) had taken advantage of legal loopholes in the apartheid era to admit a handful of black students each year as a way of asserting their status as liberal institutions. Conversely, the Afrikaans medium universities had readily embraced the legislation to exclude black students on ideological grounds.