Education Strategic Review: Evolution or revolution?

Léa Surugue reports on the potential changes that will stem from the General Optical Council’s development of new outcomes, educational standards and quality assurance processes for pre-registration optometry education.

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The Education Strategic Review (ESR), currently being undertaken by the GOC, aims to ensure that education programmes and qualifications leading to GOC registration equip future optometrists to meet changing patient needs and professional roles. The ESR is also timed to respond to long-term challenges and opportunities within the sector. These include a growing, ageing population, with patients presenting with increasingly complex needs, and advances in technology and new models of care.

A key goal of the review is to develop and implement new education standards and outcomes that are less prescriptive than the GOC’s existing approach, but which more clearly capture the professional capabilities required for contemporary optical practice. The GOC is also keen to explore how exposure to clinical environments can be integrated into optometry pre-registration education from an earlier stage, and how one organisation is accountable for each complete educational route to registration – rather than responsibility being split between different organisations, as is the case for most routes currently. However, the GOC has not been prescriptive about the model of education that should prevail. Its indications are that routes to registration could become more diverse, providing it is evident that each route fully adheres to its new standards and outcomes. 

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