A comparative analysis and evaluation of the naturopathic curriculum in South Africa

W Ericksen-Pereira, N V Roman, R Swart


Background. Naturopathy has been taught at tertiary level in South Africa (SA) for 18 years. This research paper examines the naturopathic curriculum to determine whether it is benchmarked to international standards and meets the needs of graduates in practice. It is the first research paper that critically reviews the curriculum of a complementary alternative medicine profession taught at a higher education institution (HEI) in SA.
Objective. To critically review the naturopathy curriculum taught at an SA HEI.

Methods. This research used a sequential two-stage qualitative methodology. In stage one, a comparative document analysis was conducted using the curriculum recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Naturopathic Federation (WNF) and the University of the Western Cape. Stage two consisted of a graduate review of the curriculum. Eighteen graduates participated in the review by providing input on all the subjects in the curriculum via email. The responses were summarised and thematically analysed.

Results. It was found that the SA curriculum is aligned to international curricula. Graduate inputs suggest a restructuring of the curriculum so that subjects which are core to naturopathic training can be taught in greater depth over a longer period of time.
Conclusion. The subjects offered in the SA naturopathic curriculum are on par with international standards. Concerns raised by graduates suggest a need for a restructuring of the curriculum to develop a deeper understanding of the curriculum to ensure that graduates are competent to meet the changing healthcare needs of the population.

Authors' affiliations

W Ericksen-Pereira, School of Natural Medicine, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

N V Roman, Child and Family Studies, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

R Swart, Dietetics and Nutrition, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

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Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2021;13(4):259. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.2021.v13i4.127

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-01-28
Date published: 2022-01-28

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