Recommendations of the 4th OIE Global Conference on veterinary education: Learning today to guarantee the excellence of the veterinary profession

After three days of fruitful discussions, the 350 participants of the 4th OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Education coming from more than 90 countries have endorsed a range of recommendations aimed at furthering the improvement of veterinary education worldwide. The Conference addressed ways to ensure the excellence of the veterinary profession globally, through encouraging worldwide harmonisation of veterinary education. Indeed, strengthening veterinary education constitutes the foundations of the sustainable improvement of Veterinary Services, whose quality is crucial to respond to the societal, economic and environmental changes faced by the profession and our society.

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The recommendations adopted by all participants of the Conference will be proposed for adoption by the 180 OIE Member Countries during the 85th OIE General Session in May 2017.

Paris, 26 July 2016 – Facing today’s and tomorrow’s health challenges is extremely important for mitigating, not only the threats linked to the emergence of new animal diseases or re-emergence of those in existence, but also their consequent various social and economic impacts. This issue needs to be addressed in a context in which climate, production systems and population demographics constantly evolve, as well as societal demands in the field of food security, food safety, veterinary public health and animal welfare. In this regard, society expects the veterinary profession to be able to respond to a wide range of concerns.

The quality of Veterinary Services depends on multiple factors, where appropriate qualifications, scientific expertise and experience are a key pre-requisite for a sound veterinary profession, represented by the public and private sector components of national Veterinary Services. These are essential to maintain national animal health systems that are capable to provide surveillance, early detection and reporting, as well as rapid response to any natural, accidental or intentional animal disease outbreak.

Gathered for three days of discussions in June 2016 in Bangkok, OIE National Delegates and other national government representatives, deans of Veterinary Education Establishments (VEEs), representatives of Veterinary Statutory Bodies, international and national public- and private-sector organisations and individual experts, representatives of institutions in charge of the accreditation of VEEs, and representatives of veterinary para-professional organisations, have endorsed several recommendations to respond to the above mentioned challenges.

Building on past achievements

The previous OIE global conferences on Veterinary Education addressed the need for better quality and harmonisation of veterinary education worldwide led to the development of a core curriculum to address day 1 competencies expected of all graduate veterinarians in all countries. Furthermore, they emphasised the essential role of Veterinary Statutory Bodies in supporting better veterinary education and in regulating veterinarians and veterinary para-professionals. Additionally they have encouraged the OIE to develop the concept of twinning in the field of veterinary education and Veterinary Statutory Bodies.

However, substantial disparity still remains among Veterinary Education Establishments (VEEs) across the world in the implementation of OIE Guidelines and Recommendations. Consequently, the OIE reaffirmed its commitment to continue assisting its Member Countries to improve the quality of their veterinary profession in a long-term and sustainable manner, notably through the different components of the PVS Pathway.


Diversifying the skills brought by veterinary education

The integration of new skills to veterinary studies, thereby bringing additional competencies which are not necessarily from the domain of veterinary science – such as economics, leadership, communication – will be key for meeting a wide range of societal expectations and effectively communicating with various stakeholders, such as animal owners, industries, policy makers and the general public.

Implementing innovative teaching practices in veterinary education

Encouraging VEEs to study and evaluate innovative teaching methods is necessary to provide a wider access to both initial and continuing veterinary education.

Better integrate veterinary para-professionals

Furthermore, this global conference also examined the actions to be taken to harmonise and improve the professional training opportunities of veterinary para-professionals working under the responsibility and supervision of veterinarians. Their contribution is of high importance in many countries where the number of veterinarians is limited. Therefore the conference highlighted the need of establishing minimum competencies for them and developing guidelines on core training curricula. This issue will be on the agenda of the OIE in the forthcoming months.

In order to successfully achieve these objectives, closer collaboration between Veterinary Authorities, Veterinary Statutory Bodies and Veterinary Education Establishments is crucial.

The veterinary profession can greatly contribute to a healthy world, and therefore, our world needs a healthy veterinary profession. Working closely together, Veterinary Authorities, Veterinary Statutory Bodies and Veterinary Education Establishments need to promote the value of the veterinary profession to society”, concluded Dr Monique Éloit, OIE Director General.

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