Addressing change in physiotherapy education in South Africa

South African Journal of Physiotherapy. 2018;74(1):e1-e4 DOI 10.4102/sajp.v74i1.431


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: South African Journal of Physiotherapy

ISSN: 0379-6175 (Print); 2410-8219 (Online)

Publisher: AOSIS

Society/Institution: South African Society of Physiotherapy

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Internal medicine: Special situations and conditions

Country of publisher: South Africa

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, ePUB, XML



Seyi L. Amosun (Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town)

Soraya Maart (Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town)

Niri Naidoo (Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 30 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Background: Recent demands for the decolonisation of curriculum in South Africa present challenges to students, academics and other stakeholders. This resulted in tensions in tertiary institutions, cumulating in student-led protests. The authors hypothesised that the lack of shared understanding of what this unexplored process may entail contributed to the dilemma. Objective: The aim of this opinion article is to highlight some of the possible contributors to the uncertainties in addressing this critical issue, especially as it relates to the demands for change in physiotherapy education. Method: To formulate our opinion, the authors reviewed literature relating to transformation in education in South Africa generally, and physiotherapy education specifically. Results: While there is an opportunity to address the demand for change in physiotherapy education in South Africa, there is the possibility that the use of words, such as transformation, decolonisation and decoloniality, present different connotations to students and academics. Conclusion: It is of vital importance to create formal discourse which includes students, academics and other stakeholders that will facilitate shared understanding about what the previously unexplored and unmapped processes of engagement entail. The change process in physiotherapy education is envisaged to be a partnership between students and academic staff having common understanding about the processes and responsibilities, and must be addressed comprehensively. Clinical implications: Aligning the change process in physiotherapy education with the decolonisation agenda will strengthen the South African health care system by ensuring that physiotherapy students are adequately prepared to provide service to patients within a context that acknowledges the uniqueness of South African communities.