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Are you considering foreign qualifications?

The HPCSA has observed an increase in the number of students pursuing their studies abroad, only to find upon their return to South Africa, that their medical qualification obtained is not always regarded as equivalent to, or on the same standard as those obtained locally.

The HPCSA cautions students who are considering studying medicine abroad to be well informed about the registration and other requirements they will need to comply with, if they would like to come back and practice as doctors in South Africa after obtaining their qualification abroad.

In terms of the regulations relating to the registration of persons who hold qualifications not prescribed for registration (Government Notice R101, published on 6 February 2009), a foreign qualified practitioner whose qualification has not yet been accepted by the council as equivalent to the education and training standard to the one awarded by accredited South African institutions, may be required to pass, to the satisfaction of the board and examination or evaluation in terms of section 25(2) of the Act in the profession for which he or she applies for registration.

The HPCSA is mandated to protect the public and to guide the professions, it therefore has to ensure firstly, that the standard of foreign education is equivalent to the South African qualification and secondly, that practitioners who obtained a foreign qualification have the necessary knowledge and expertise to practice their profession in South Africa.

Not only is studying abroad very costly for families but students are far away from their family and friends. They may have to learn a new language and often have little social support. In addition, they may learn a different approach to healthcare and also learn about different disease spectrums in a different context which may not necessarily be appropriate to the South African setting.

Therefore, when choosing a medical school abroad, the council advises students to consider the following:
•    Does the medical school have a well-established, international reputation?
•    Does the institution have graduates who have passed the board examination and who are currently working in South Africa?
•    Is the language easy to learn?
Prospective students are welcome to contact the HPCSA for further information on e-mail.

Last Updated on 5 March 2015 by HPCSA Corporate Affairs