Skip to main content


Table 1 Strategies to ameliorate identity discrepancy in the returning NMFCMC students (Adapted From Higgins [5]

From: Assimilating South African medical students trained in Cuba into the South African medical education system: reflections from an identity perspective

Narrow the gap between the student’s self-concept and the regulatory self-concepts (ought/ own and/or ideal/own) by:
1. Facilitating an improvement in the student’s performance.  • Additional instruction and training provided in a positive and supportive manner.
2. Modifying the student’s interpretation of their own performance.  • Continually reinforce the valuing of the student’s personal strengths, and encourage an understanding of the reason why current performance may appear inferior without this reflecting on the student’s actual abilities or worth.
3. Protecting the student from circumstances and social interactions which widen the gap between identities.  • Avoid teaching, instruction and testing in mixed groups until such time as the skills and knowledge gap has been significantly narrowed.
4. Encouraging the student to rehearse and evince positive attitudes actively.  • Use of mentors to close the gap in a positive and non-threatening fashion  • Group discussion and reflection, particularly with senior staff and role models
5. Promoting good relationships  • Mutual understanding and a sympathetic, non-judgmental appreciation of the challenges faced by NMFCMC student on the part of local staff and students  • Promote social interaction under non-threatening conditions which reinforce a shared identity rather than one of a local-foreign divide
6. Moderating the tendency of local academics and students to widen the actual, ought and ideal discrepancies as the agents of the other identity.  • Discourage the term “Cuban student” and “Cuban programme”  • Forbid all forms of disparagement and statements which are likely to result in a negative self-image on the part of the NMFCMC or to reinforce negative stereotypes on the part of local staff and students.  • Encourage expressions of positive appreciation of the values imparted by the Cuban curriculum  • Sensitize staff and students to the negative consequences (even where unintended) of comparisons of ability between local and NMFCMC students in domains in which active remediation has not yet been provided.