Community Service Learning among Health Sciences and Medical Undergraduates at a Malaysian setting: Providers’ and Recipients’ Portraits

Devinder Kaur Ajit Singh, Maziah Mamat, Roslee Rajikan, Nor Azlin Mohd Nordin, Cila Umat, Nor Najwatul Akmal Ab Rahman, Nor Ayuslinawati bt. Che Sidik

Abstract


Community Service learning (CSL) or Community engagement integrated teaching and learning (CEITL) offers reciprocal learning to both the providers and recipients. While it is important to consider the opinions of both parties for successful CSL, limited information exists in this topic area locally. The objective of this study was to explore undergraduates’ and communities’ perceptions regarding their experience and services provided during CSL. Recollections of 12 health sciences and medical undergraduates, and 18 members of the community whom participated in CSL programmes were sought using focus group discussions. This included their understanding of the programme, its benefits, challenges and their solutions and preferred activities. Undergraduates perceived CSL as an activity considered important to provide interactions between students and community. The perceived benefits of CSL were enhancement of interpersonal communication skills, negotiation of mutual understanding and experiencing real life situations. Undergraduates suggested that CSL should be well planned and scheduled. The CSL was seen by the communities as a platform for the recipients’ children to learn from the undergraduates as role models, future collaboration opportunities and health knowledge sharing. Weaknesses highlighted were; unstructured schedules, lack of variation in activities and CSL programme duration been too short to be effective. Suggestions provided for improved CSL were; extended time for health screening and better planned schedules. The findings suggest that undergraduates are aware of the significance of CSL in complementing their learning whereas the community have a positive outlook regarding CSL rendered by undergraduates. Further improvements are warranted in the implementation of more effective CSL programmes.

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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