An analysis of the Somatology programme offered at South African Universities of Technology to determine whether it meets the needs of industry
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The beginning of the 20th century presented the Somatology profession with unprecedented challenges of acquiring a scientific base and achieving professionalisation. It is in this milieu that a few research studies were previously undertaken with regard to Somatology education however, none particularly focused in relation to areas that are preparing graduates for industry. The current study was a national study that explored the existing National Diploma offering through the lens of students, educators and members of the Durban University of Technology’s Advisory Board. In particular, it focused on developing broad guidelines to guide academics on what further content was required to be integrated into the current Somatology education. A triangulated approach using both quantitative and qualitative methods was used to guide the operationalisation of the research process. Five Universities of Technology participated in the study, viz. Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Central University of Technology, Durban University of Technology, Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Johannesburg. Third year and B.Tech students were surveyed with regard to the current Somatology Programme and what further aspects needed to be integrated into it to better prepare graduates for industry. In addition, in-depth interviews were also held with ten academics, two from each University of Technology, to examine what they thought needed to be included in education to strengthen the current programme. The same was done through a focus group discussion with members of the Durban University of Technology Advisory Board. A programme analysis of current content being taught at the five Universities was also undertaken. The results reflected that although most of the samples were satisfied with the current educational programme, they still believed that gaps existed and that graduates were still not adequately prepared for industry. It was found that both students and educators saw the need for more therapies to be included in the training. Both educators and the Advisory Board sample also saw the need for a stronger emphasis to be placed on practical skill development. The Advisory Board sample also strongly articulated for training to occur in an industry context as opposed to the University based experiential setting. Using data from these multiple samples, a set of guidelines was developed and presented. These guidelines were based on what further therapies needed to be integrated into education. The Duke Integrative Medicines Wheel of Health was adopted as the theoretical framework of the study. It was also utilised to identify specific areas that needed to be interwoven into education to further strengthen graduates’ preparedness for industry.