PCI to come down heavily on colleges which lack required faculty & infrastructure

The Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) has decided to come down heavily on pharmacy colleges if they do not have the required faculty and the infrastructure to conduct B Pharm and M Pharm courses. All pharmacy colleges will need to strictly comply with these norms of 10 labs with required equipments, four classrooms and 24 faculty.

The Council insists on strict compliance to regulations by insisting on appointment of senior faculty, organise QIP workshops and training programmes for younger faculty, monitor the mobility of faculty by uploading their service details on PCI website and recommend Government/ UGC/AICTE pay scales.

To keep tab on the faculty experience, PCI would shortly upload the complete profile of the teachers accessible only to the regulatory authority and colleges to track their movement, create transparency and strict monitoring of their experience.

Further PCI is also gearing up to partner with global institutions like FIPEd  the new umbrella directorate and ACPE International Services Programme (ISP) which offers consultation, training and programme certification to international stakeholders for quality assurance and advancement of pharmacy education. A Task Force is created and PCI is looking at senior faculty and experts to support this.

“We have sent in a circular to this effect to all pharmacy colleges after the Council carried out a quality deficit evaluation. It indicated need for manpower planning in the colleges, focus quality in academic research and  restructure to meet the expansion of institutions,” Dr B Suresh, president, PCI, vice chancellor, JSS University and chairman scientific body Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission.

“To begin with faculty should be required to undergo continuing education programmes (CEP) to be in sync with the latest developments. There has been flood of regulatory updates and the entire landscape of the pharma industry is transforming with the need for modernisation of the education standards in the country,” he added.

Dr Suresh, a former student of the Government College of Pharmacy Bengaluru, who was part of the recent Golden Jubilee celebrations said that with the increasing number of colleges, the big concern was the faculty quality that were found to be fresh graduates who took on teaching assignments mainly because of the increasing competition and shrinking job opportunities in the industry. This is why CEP is mandated to arm them with  the right exposure to regulatory challenges, respond suitably to globalization and guide students on the new employment avenues.

Taking an assessment of 1,000 pharmacy colleges, PCI observed that of the 19,885 faculty, a large number of colleges did not commensurate with the senior teaching staff. It observed that in over 50 per cent institutions, there had only one professor as against the four professors for one college and remaining were at the level of assistant professor and lecturers. At lecturer level 88 per cent of faculty had under five years experience. “The disparity is being addressed by the PCI and is a matter of concern for the maintenance of quality in teaching and colleges are now asked to pull up their socks lest there would be serious consequences,” said Dr Suresh.

The Council is also looking to revise the syllabus which is seen to grossly behind the current standards. Now it needs to approach each state government and the related University to go in for a restructure of the curriculum and the subject specializations. But the deemed universities could carry out the required changes immediately, said Dr Suresh.