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The first tailor-made Degree Programme in Physiotherapy started at TAMK

Published on 1.12.2022
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Tiina Pystynen and Faith Chepkosgei sitting in a classroom.
Tiina Pystynen and Faith Chepkosgei are excited about the new Physiotherapy Programme.
In August, Tampere University of Applied Sciences welcomed a group of 25 students from Kenya who came to study Physiotherapy in a tailor-made programme at TAMK. The degree programme of Physiotherapy lasts for 3,5 years. Since this is a pioneer group, the students have an important role in developing the programme in the future.

The students have been studying now for four months in the new programme. There have been some challenges at the beginning in finding a common working and study culture and creating a common understanding of concepts and meanings due to cultural differences. In general, the studies have started well and the students are eager to deepen their knowledge.

Cultural differences in studies

Faith Chepkosgei, physiotherapy student, says that after comparing different study options, TAMK was the best option to study physiotherapy because of the good quality of education. She has encountered already the culture differences between Kenya and Finland in studying.

“In Kenya we are used to lecturers being a high authority. In classes we address the lecturers formally Mr for male and Mrs for female with their surname. The teachers always dictate the notes, and we write them down since we don't have Moodle. Exams are done on written papers.” Chepkosgei concludes.  

In Kenya the physiotherapy studies last for four years. In Finland the studies last for 3,5 years and practical trainings have a big role in the studies same as small group work.

“The difference is too that the technology is more advanced here in Finland than in Kenya”, Chepkosgei says.

Tiina Pystynen, Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy at TAMK mentions that there have been cultural differences that have raised questions among the students. For example, students have been wondering that if Finnish people are the happiest people in the world, then why are they so serious? Another issue that has been a topic of discussion is that why do the elderly people live alone or in elderly homes in Finland? In Kenya it is typical that the families live together, and the children take care of their parents when they get old.

Wonderful start with the pilot group

Pystynen is very pleased with the pilot group. The students have good competencies, and they are very positive and motivated to study and learn new things.

“Students have passed their exams with good grades. All assignments have been done in time. The students are very conscientious and hardworking,” Pystynen says.

Chepkosgei adds that she likes her studies at TAMK and that she enjoys living in Tampere, because Tampere is a peaceful city with beautiful environment. She likes especially the lakes. Her studies have gone well, and she is excited to learn more.

“Anatomy is a bit tricky but I'm getting through it”, Chepkosgei says.

The physiotherapy pilot study programme is structured in a way that the last two practical training periods are planned to take place in Kenya.

“There is a shortage of physiotherapists in Kenya and it would of course be great if the students returned to Kenya to ease this situation”, Pystynen says.


Text: Riikka Mölkänen

Picture: Emmi Suominen