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Anat Sci Educ. 2020 Mar 11. doi: 10.1002/ase.1956. [Epub ahead of print]

Histology and embryology education in China: the current situation and changes over the past twenty years.

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Department of Histology and Embryology, Medical College, Jinan University, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China.
Macau University of Science and Technology, Macao SAR, People's Republic of China.
Department of Histology and Embryology, Hubei University of Medicine, Shiyan, People's Republic of China.


In mainland China, histology and embryology (HE) are taught in one course as an essential component of medical curricula. The effectiveness of HE courses directly affects the quality of medical students. To determine the present situation and changes in HE teaching in Chinese medical schools, a nationwide survey was conducted among the HE departmental leaders. In total, 66 responses were included in the study, representing prominent Chinese mainland medical schools. The results revealed that most HE teachers have medical educational backgrounds; an increasing number of teaching staff with PhDs have joined the teaching staffs. A range of 71 to 90 HE curriculum contact hours is predominant. The ratio of theory to practice for HE contact hours is 1:1 at half of the surveyed medical schools. The numbers of students in each laboratory are less than 30 and from 31-60 at 23 and 36 medical schools, respectively. Virtual microscopy is employed in 40% of the surveyed medical schools. Didactic teaching is the most common strategy, although new teaching approaches are being employed gradually. During the past twenty years, both the total number of HE teachers and the number of HE teachers with medical educational backgrounds have been reduced in at least half of the surveyed schools. A total of 83.33% of the surveyed schools have reduced their HE contact hours. Almost half of the Chinese medical schools remained unchanged in both their ratio of theory to practice and the number of students in each laboratory.The data derived from this study help to understand the development of the HE discipline at Chinese medical schools.


curriculum; embryology education; histology education; medical education; microanatomy; teaching staff; undergraduate; virtual microscopy


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