The survey was based on information obtained from the personal interview with an optometrist which was a mandatory component of this assignment. The question type survey involved opinions of practitioners in Australia and internationally regarding the educational standards of the current university programs; the need for a national board examination system; and the opinion whether the profession was ensuring competence in practitioners. Also asked in the survey were the questions related to the need for national examination for overseas graduates, and if it is appropriate to conduct periodical mandatory examinations for practitioners. The results of the survey will be referred/referenced to throughout the essay.
So what are the educational standards A concern is whether the current optometry programs taught in Australia are appropriate. The four to five year course that leads to the degree of bachelorhood in optometry can then be furthered by undertaking MSc, MOptom, PhD in the same field. Experiments/research has been undertaken to improve the learning process of the students in this regard and new experiments and studies are being conducted. The introduction of WebCT (Web Course Tools) i.e. learning by the help of E-learning by Herse at the undergraduate level has been successful and highly educational to students (Herse ,2003). In another study, Anjou showed written communication that is letters of referral and report between healthcare providers to be one of the most competent means of communications between the health care providers and has insisted in implementing the structure at the graduate level. (Anjou, 2003). An introduction to problem based learning in Queensland University of Technology has also been carried out. (Azer, 2001) These studies are examples of the various techniques being introduced to increase the educational standards in the field of optometry.
However, there are many who believe the system is not up to par. Take Carney for instance. Carney holds the view that the current challenges the universities face require a better strategy in education and teaching. He blames the slow legal status of Australia. "We are all aware that to accomplish change in the legal status of the health professions in Australia is a frustratingly slow process." He maintains the need to "further evolve the profession and develop it further. (Carney,2000)
Comparing to the USA standards, Carney states that the model of entry-level competency adopted by ASCO (The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry), should be followed by a similar strategy in Australia to improve its educational standards. Carney believes Australia can reach to the levels of USA and UK (Carney, 2000). The US and UK standards are very good and are globally accepted and appreciated. He also maintains that the scope of the practice cannot be defined by entry level competencies alone (because) and stresses the need for further learning studies after graduation.(Carney ,2000). These skills and attitudes, in the author's view, will necessarily become integral and assessable attributes of graduates of the future.
All these points hold merit but there are issues to the contrary.According to