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PCI chalks out plans to allay concerns of education sector; inspections in institutions will be reduced: Dr B Suresh

The Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) is seeking ways to enhance the efficiency and quality of pharmacy education which faces challenges in many ways and causes concerns for the institutions, teachers and students for want of strong remedial exercises due to various reasons.

A concrete solution for these issues will be brought in soon, said Dr B Suresh, president of the PCI.

“PCI is well aware of all the issues, consequently projects are being chalked out to transform the whole pharmacy education landscape by making it stronger in terms of quality and efficiency. A digital monitoring system with the help of state-of-the-art technologies will be introduced shortly in order to alleviate the concerns of the teachers and the students. The comprehensive web portal is on the anvil and it will function as a centralized registry,” Dr Suresh said

Talking about the digital tracking system, the PCI president said a string of strategic measures is in the developmental stage and within a couple of months it will come in force through a data dashboard. Each institution will be given a dashboard. For availing services from the PCI, the stakeholders can access the web portal which will be in the form of a centralized registry of institutions, teachers, courses, students and registered pharmacists. Once an institution is registered with the central portal and the complete data are uploaded on it, the PCI can monitor through the web how academic courses are conducted in each college and how teachers perform there.

All institutions have to upload the complete data of their infrastructure facilities, faculties, students and courses on the comprehensive web portal of the PCI. In the case of teachers’ registration, the portal will accept only those persons qualified as per government norms and approved by the PCI with registrations in their respective state councils. Through the portal, PCI can track the data of the teachers and verify them with the state registry. Similarly, it will check the information given by the institutions about their faculties and their qualifications. If a teacher resigns from an institution, or he is removed or transferred to another institution, it has to be mentioned on the website. Not just that, but the authorities should mention who is appointed in his place there, he emphasized.

For avoiding the difficulties of dual control of AICTE and PCI, the pharmacy council will reduce inspections in the existing colleges. Only new colleges will be inspected on receipt of applications. In the case of existing colleges, approval will be given as soon as the applications are received for new courses. Afterwards, inspections will be conducted as the delay in inspection puts the institutions in trouble.

“It takes so much time to inspect all the institutions before their applications are approved or rejected. Except new colleges, the existing colleges will be given approval immediately as the council is getting near about 2,000 applications every year for approval. Among them only five hundred or six hundred may be for new colleges. Such institutions can be inspected on time, but new course approval will be granted without inspection,” he said.

Regarding concerns of teachers, Dr Suresh said, “Once the central digital registry (portal) takes form, the colleges have to comply with all the conditions and other rules & regulations of respective state governments and of the PCI in order to continue to exist. The major concerns of the teachers working in pharmacy colleges are with regard to salary and other benefits. The PCI can monitor whether the teachers are working on a uniform pay scale as specified for the teachers.”

The portal will have a set of FAQ s which will answer the general queries of almost all the teachers and students. To other questions, experts from the PCI will give answers. This will help the stakeholders of pharmacy education to avail all details without writing or making phone calls to the council. The institutions need not go to the headquarters of the council to clear their doubts or solve a problem. Everything can be solved through the high tech facilities.

Regarding complaints of unemployed pharmacists about renting of certificates by professionals, the portal will find its remedy. If a pharmacy teacher works in a community pharmacy or rents his certificate to a pharmacy, the PCI as well as the drugs control department can easily find it out and take penal action. The portal will be updated every time and it will be live always, he added.

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