The Faculty of Physical Therapy at Mahidol University has been Thailand’s first institute to initiate a Bachelor’s Degree Program in Physiotherapy since 1965.
The Program is committed to nurturing students to become physiotherapists who can provide high-quality services in line with the vision of the Faculty of Physical Therapy. The faculty aims to be one of Asia’s top three institutions in education, research, innovation, and health services that brings positive impacts on people’s well-being by 2024. Additionally, to support the university in striving to become a world-class university, the executives of the Faculty of Physical Therapy have set a clear policy and goal, which is to have its Bachelor of Science Program in Physical Therapy certified by World Physiotherapy (WPT). Founded in 1951, WPT is a global professional, charitable and non-profit entity, being registered in the United Kingdom and comprising of 129 member organisations with more than 600,000 physiotherapists worldwide. WPT criteria are set with the objective to support the development of physiotherapy education at an international level, leading to improvement in the quality and availability of physiotherapy services.
The criteria focus on the competence domains of core physiotherapy practice that graduates of the entry-level education programs are expected to have upon completion. These competence domains are also relevant for maintaining continued competence through professional development, which includes program foundation, curriculum, teaching and learning, assessment, infrastructure and culture, academic staff, quality assurance, as well as lifelong learning.
Cooperation was well received from faculty members, physical therapists, students, alumni, and faculty advisors, along with great support from the university in accordance with the quality development policy, which aims to push the curriculum to be certified to international standards. The Bachelor of Science Program, Physical Therapy Department, was initially assessed on 20th August 2022, and received a site visit on 6th-7th December 2022. The process took two years, and the program was officially accredited on 3rd March 2023, with a five-year certification period. The Faculty of Physical Therapy, Mahidol University, is the first institute in Southeast Asia to receive the certification of WPT’s global education and management standard.
WPT provides valuable recommendations for curriculum development in various areas. These suggestions encompass several aspects, such as organising professional training, establishing clear clinical practice objectives for each subject, and aligning expected outcomes in clinical practice with specific physiotherapy expertise.
Furthermore, it is important to designate appropriate venues for conducting clinical practice that align with the specific physiotherapy expertise required by each subject. The proportion of instrumental therapy subjects and specific physiotherapy treatment subjects should also be taken into consideration.
Moreover, certain issues related to curriculum administration need to be addressed. These include defining the roles of the curriculum administration committee, managing academic staff’s workload effectively, and facilitating the exchange of experiences and perspectives in curriculum management and development with foreign scholars. Additionally, considering the needs of stakeholders is crucial for the continuous improvement and development of the curriculum.
The operation for nearly 60 years of the Bachelor of Science Program, Physical Therapy Department and the WPT accreditation certification is empirical evidence of the international standard curriculum and quality of the faculty. It brings pride to the faculty, staff, and alumni, building credibility and trust among current students and those who want to study in the field of physical therapy as well as future employers. It also increases chances for the graduates to work or gain access to studies in both domestic and international institutions. In conclusion, this achievement helps promote the educational image of Thailand, upgrade Thailand’s physical therapy standard and curriculum, and support the university’s goal of becoming a world-class university.