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The attitude and perception towards first year courses among dental students at the university of nairobi.

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SUMMARY.
Background this was a study of attitude and perception of dental students towards first year
courses. These may be positive or negative depending on the respondents.
Objectives; the main objective was to determine the attitude and perception towards first
year courses among dental students at UoN.
Design; it was a descriptive cross sectional study.
Setting; it was among UoN dental students.
Study participants; these were 81 students pursuing the degree of BDSat the UoN in their first
second third or fourth year of study.
Methods; Stratified random sampling method was used. Willing students filled the self
administered questionnaires after which they were collected by the administrators.
Consideration was given to the year of study during this data collection. Data was coded and
analyzed using a full SPSS.The measures computed included percentages and chi2. The
information was presented in form of tables, graphs and pie charts.
Results; Only 30.8% of the students chose dentistry because they liked it. Generally students
agree that all the first year courses are relevant except biochemistry which 48.7% of the
respondents find irrelevant. Most students{51%) think biochemistry is irrelevant because it has
no application in the clinical subjects. However, students don't find the other course totally
relevant they find some parts irrelevant for example 40% feel dissection of other parts except
the head and neck makes that part of the course irrelevant but not the whole course. Most of
the respondents 23% feel that the number of years for the 1st course should be increased. The
attitude and perception towards the courses does not improve as the students progress with
their studies.
Discussion; About 30% of students chose dentistry because they liked it while 11.5% were
forced by parents or guardians and 5.1% because of fast employment. This agrees with a study
ix
by Tracey McDowall and Bevely Jackley on what influences accounting student's attitudes
towards accounting as a profession which were intrinsic interest in the content of accounting
courses, influences of parents and friends. Results obtained from the study 95.2% who agree in
clinical years that human anatomy is relevant. The above result agrees with a study by B.J.
Moxham and a.Plaisant on the perception of medical students towards the clinical relevance of
Anatomy which showed that students at all stages of their medical course share with
professional anatomists the view that anatomy is a very important subject for their clinical
studies.
Conclusion; Most students feel that biochemistry does not have application to clinical work.The
attitude and perception does not change as the students progress to clinical years.
Recommendations; The clinical relevance of the course content should be emphasized during
the lessons and the biochemistry course should be reviewed and its content improved to meet
the requirements of the dental students
Study benefits; will form a benchmark for future studies.
Information from this study can be used by policy makers in developing strategies to improve
the attitude of students towards first year course. It will be a fulfillment of the requirement
for the award of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the UoN.
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