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Impact of COVID-19 on entry-level education of physiotherapists

May 11, 2020

Based on recent survey results, the World Council of Physical Therapy (WCPT) has published a briefing paper on the immediate impact on the higher education sector and response to delivering physiotherapist entry-level education.

The primary intention of the survey was to illuminate the first three horizons of the crisis response: resolve, resilience and return.  It also captured lessons learned, benefits and innovative practices. These can be used to inform the next stages - reimagine and reshape.

The paper was informed by an online survey, which was one of the first activities of a global task force on physiotherapist education launched by WCPT in April 2020. The online survey includes responses from 303 representatives of physiotherapist education programs from 58 countries. The responses provide insights into how the programs have resolved the immediate challenges, how they have addressed near-term issues and, at the date of the survey responses, what barriers they anticipate to a return to post-pandemic operations.

WCPT President Emma Stokes, who leads the task force, said: "The survey is the result of a global collaboration of four education networks including ACAPT, CLADEFK, ENPHE and our own WCPT network of educators. The task force will be considering other aspects of how COVID19 will impact the education of physiotherapists, including the student experience, and regulation and accreditation issues."

The briefing paper is the first in a series planned by WCPT exploring the response of the global physiotherapy profession to COVID-19. The next briefing paper will focus on rehabilitation.

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