Sharing best practices in veterinary education to enhance the capacities of the veterinary profession: OIE Veterinary Education Twinning Programme

The OIE Veterinary Education Twinning Programme has been developed to assist OIE Member Countries in meeting the requirements for delivering highly competent Veterinary Services, through the provision of quality veterinary education. Recent zoonotic disease events, such as avian influenza, have illustrated that robust animal health systems, under the auspices of strong national Veterinary Services, are essential to protect countries in times of sanitary crises. These are fundamental to prevent and control animal diseases, including zoonoses, which continue to have severe impacts on animal and human health, and jeopardise the production and productivity of livestock.

Paris, 6 July 2016 – “A well-educated veterinary workforce is key in providing scientifically sound risk assessments, credible reporting of diseases and effective delivery of services to producers and consumers”, highlighted Dr Monique Éloit, Director General of the OIE, during the recent OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Education which was held in Bangkok (Thailand) on 22-24 June 2016.

Improving initial veterinary education can provide the foundation upon which an efficient veterinary workforce, capable of carrying out and leading good governance practices, can be built, thereby enabling threats emanating from animal diseases and zoonoses to be reduced.

In numerous countries, however, the quality of veterinary education is failing to meet the requirements for delivering highly competent Veterinary Services. To address this, the OIE has developed OIE recommendations on the Competencies of graduating veterinarians (‘Day 1 graduates’) to assure National Veterinary Services of quality, and OIE Guidelines on Veterinary Education Core Curriculum to modernise veterinary curriculum and its delivery. The OIE strongly advocates for curriculum to be aligned with these recommendations and guidelines to ensure that veterinary students are being educated to the level of competency expected of them.

Applicable to Veterinary Education Establishments in all OIE Member Countries, the OIE recommendations on the Competencies of graduating veterinarians (‘Day 1 graduates’) provide a basis for the training and education for veterinarians.

To support these recommendations, the OIE has developed guidelines for a Model Core Veterinary Curriculum, that present various recommended courses. These guidelines assist the development of curricula to educate veterinary students to meet the necessary competencies.

In furthering the implementation of these recommendations and guidelines, the OIE has initiated its Veterinary Education Twinning Programme between Veterinary Education Establishments (hereafter referred as VEEs). The ultimate intent of the programme is to equip future veterinarians with the knowledge required to support the public and private sectors of national Veterinary Services, by fostering quality veterinary education. The programme furthermore seeks to better understand the threshold of initial veterinary education worldwide.

The longer term objective of the OIE Veterinary Education Twinning Programme is to create more centres of excellence for veterinary education in geographic areas that are currently under-represented, and to achieve a better balance of well-educated veterinarians around the world, through the exchange of teachers and students.

Each project under this programme is a partnership between one (or more) recognised or accredited VEE, known as the ‘Parent’, and a ‘Beneficiary’ VEE.

Identification of the main differences between curriculum at KazNAU and the OIE Day 1 Competencies and Core Curriculum will be one of the main outcomes of the project. At the end of the project, ENVT will verify the methods used by KazNAU to implement the recommendations provided by ENVT.”
École Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse, France – Kazakh National Agrarian University (KazNAU, Kazakhstan)

The OIE Veterinary Education Twinning Programme thus provides the opportunity for VEEs to modernise their curriculum and the ways in which it is delivered.

“Dr. Terdsak Yano completely revised his swine diseases course using a flipped classroom and active learning to increase emphasis on transboundary animal diseases, one of the OIE Day 1 competencies. A ‘flipped classroom’ means that students are provided readings and videos to watch before class. Active learning involves activities that require student participation and engagement.”
University of Minnesota (UMN, United States of America) – Chiang Mai University (CMU, Thailand)

Twinning activities also include the exchange of faculty and students, delivery of continuing veterinary education and professional development training programmes, initiation of collaborative research, enhancement of e-learning expertise and on-line coursework, and the development of faculty teaching skills through capacity building workshops.

The OIE Guide to Veterinary Education Twinning Projects (newly revised in May 2016) details the scope and processes involved in a twinning project.
To date, 9 projects are underway in the five OIE regions and 5 projects are under development.


Progress to date demonstrates how multiple approaches are being used to improve curriculum and the teaching of veterinary education in each country.

“CMU Faculty members made changes to their curricula as a result of the twinning project experience. Chiang Mai teaching staff incorporated student oral presentations to slaughter plant management after student teams completed a HACCP audit and in-plant sampling. UMN faculty members were so impressed with the CMU approach that they added a food safety oriented team activity similar to that observed in Thailand in order to foster critical thinking through student interaction”
University of Minnesota (UMN, United States of America
Chiang Mai University (CMU, Thailand)

Twinning projects should be mutually beneficial and promote best practices for developing veterinary education, and ultimately Veterinary Services, worldwide. The benefits arising from a twinning project should be sustainable, remain long after the project has terminated and lead to the maintenance and further development of veterinary and educational expertise in the region.

Twinning is part of the wider OIE initiative to improve the capacity of Veterinary Services; it is therefore synergistic with activities under the OIE PVS Pathway[1] and is complementary to the other OIE Twinning programmes developed for Laboratories and Veterinary Statutory Bodies.

4th OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Education recently held in Bangkok (Thailand) provided the opportunity for twinning partners in OIE Member Countries to share their experiences of the OIE Veterinary Education Twinning Programme, and allow for discussions on the ways in which OIE Day 1 Competencies and the Model Veterinary Core Curriculum can better integrated into veterinary curriculum. The recommendations developed during this Conference will soon be made available online.

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[1] The PVS Pathway is a continuous process, comprised of different phases, under which specific missions are undertaken to strengthen national animal health systems and their contribution to global public goods. Since 2006, the OIE’s ‘Performance of Veterinary Services’ (PVS) Pathway has assisted OIE Member Countries to improve the compliance of their national Veterinary Services with OIE intergovernmental standards in a sustainable manner.

Video: © Chiang Mai University