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Conflicting roles of AICTE & Pharmacy Council of India (PCI)

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PharamaBiz | Thursday, August 20, 2015 | Editorial | P A Francis |

Pharmacy education in India continues to be in a poor state of affairs with a majority of students passing out of 2000 pharmacy colleges in the country lack knowledge and competence expected of a modern pharmacy professional. Although there has been a huge increase in the number of pharmacy colleges in the country over the years, educational facilities in the colleges have not been up to the mark. A large number of these colleges do not have required lab infrastructure and competent and experienced faculty members to teach the students. As per norms laid down by the Pharmacy Council of India, all pharmacy colleges need to have 10 labs with required equipments, four class rooms and 24 qualified faculty members. But, very few of the pharmacy colleges in the country have these basic facilities. Many college managements are found to be taking even fresh graduates for the teaching assignments because of increasing demand for qualified and experienced faculty. Apart from this, there has been no serious attempt to harmonize pharmacy education in India with global standards so as to make it a well recognized and critical clinical profession. For this, the current curricula for the pharmacy courses including the one for diploma course needs to be drastically changed.

The key reason for this situation is the existence of dual authority for regulating the pharmacy education in India. Pharmacy Council of India is considered to be the sole regulatory body consisting of experienced and competent professionals which lay down the curricula and other educational norms for various pharmacy courses in the country. At the same time All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has also been given the authority to sanction new pharmacy colleges as pharmacy education is considered to be a technical education. And AICTE is exercising this power quite frequently without consulting PCI leading to a huge and unnecessary spurt in the number of pharmacy colleges and seats. It is because of this trend many B Pharm colleges, especially in southern states, are not getting students to fill even half the number of allotted seats. Pharmacists bodies have been protesting against the role of AICTE for some time as the decisions of this technical body has been one of the main reason for the poor standards of pharmacy graduates coming out of colleges today. Existence of two government bodies to set standards for this critical education will not serve the purpose of safeguarding and nurturing the interest of pharmacy profession. And it is undoubtedly causing serious confusion among the college managements, the pharmacy professionals and thousands of students.- Courtesy


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