Socio-demographics and post-apartheid medical training at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine.
The Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine (NRMSM) is an important stakeholder in the training of doctors. Like other South African medical schools, NRMSM’s programmes and policies are guided by institutional and governmental legislation in response to a series of post-apartheid challenges such as transformation, redress, access and success. South Africa’s health workforce is dependent on the number (and profile) of post-secondary school leavers who gain access to the medical training platform and achieve success therein. It is questioned whether NRMSM is achieving the legislated targets for the training of doctors in post-apartheid South Africa. The research reported in this dissertation documented the socio-demographic profiles of race, gender, age, educational qualifications, and background and geographic origins (and the changes therein) of applicants and admitted students to the MBChB programmes between 1995 and 2005. In addition, it documented the number of students admitted from disadvantaged educational backgrounds as well as their success rates. This quantitative, objectivist and positivist research study involved secondary data collection from existing databases from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Department of Basic Education and other sources. The data was cleaned and subjected to descriptive and correlational statistical analyses. The results from the analyses revealed that, between 1995 and 2005, there was an increase in the ratio of applicants to admitted students, and the majority of applicants and admitted students were Black, female, matriculants (aged between 18-21 years) and residents of KwaZulu-Natal from advantaged (fee-paying) schools. NRMSM has admitted a small number of applicants from non-fee paying schools. However, when compared to a first year failure-rate of 10.5% for admitted students from fee-paying schools, admitted students from non-fee paying schools experienced an average failure rate of 35%.At NRMSM, race continues to be an important admission criterion and higher numbers of females and matriculants from KwaZulu-Natal are admitted. These redress targets enhance gender and race representivity in the health workforce in the province, as students admitted from KZN are more likely to remain in KZN after qualification. Although increased access to medical higher education within the non-fee paying school cohort also contributes to national access and redress initiatives, the high failure rate among this cohort implies that additional resources should be provided to improve success in this group of students. a. Their words have been re-written but the general information attributed to them has been referenced b. Where their exact words have been used, then their writing has been placed in italics and inside quotation marks, and referenced. 5. This dissertation does not contain text, graphics or tables copied and pasted from the Internet, unless specifically acknowledged, and the source being detailed in the thesis and in the References sections.