Medical Students’ Perceptions of the Medical Education Learning Environment at the University of Nairobi: A Qualitative Study

Daniel Ojuka,1 Faith Aseta,2Beth Githambo,2Brian Wambua2
1. Department of Surgery, University of Nairobi
2. School of Medicine, University of Nairobi

Correspondence to: Dr. Daniel Ojuka; email:

Received: 25 November 2019; Revised: 09 September 2020; Accepted: 10 November 2020; Available online: 20 December 2020


Background: The educational environment (EE) has a significant influence on effective student learning. The Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM) is a validated tool to assess the EE. A DREEM survey done in early 2019 among medical students at the University of Nairobi highlighted many problems. It was therefore important to explore why such perceptions existed among the medical students. Objectives: To explore medical students’ perceptions of the medical education learning environment at the University of Nairobi. Methods: Qualitative focus group discussions (FGD) were held among medical students in years III to VI in groups of between 8and 12 students. The discussions were recorded using a Samsung J6 phone voice recorder, transcribed, coded, and analysed for themes until saturation was reached. Results: We held six FGD with medical students in years III to VI and identified four thematic areas: 1) poor educational infrastructure, 2) poor educational structure, 3) teacher-centred teaching, and 4) lack of social support for students in difficulties. Conclusion: Exploring the perceptions of the EE confirmed students have a poor view of the educational environment. The issues raised are good feedback on teaching, governance and the social culture of the institution.

Keywords: Learning environment, DREEM, Medical students, Qualitative methods

Ann Afr Surg. 2021 ; 18(2) : 103–108
Conflicts of Interest: None
Funding: None
© 2021 Author. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License 


The Annals of African Surgery is the official publication of the Surgical Society of Kenya.


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