Thursday, December 14, 2017, 08:00 Hrs [IST]
It will be music to the ears of thousands of pharmacy students who pursue the six-year clinical pharmacy program, Pharm D, and for those who have already completed it, as the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will soon approve the six-year educational course very soon. With this, the Pharm D program, like all other pharmacy courses, will get the dual approval of both the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) and the AICTE.
Academicians hope that once the AICTE approves the course, all the problems hitherto faced by the students in respect of higher studies in the institutes of NIPER and hurdles for grant of scholarships and stipends will be sorted out and cleared.
With AICTE recognition, the major advantage that can happen on the side of the pharmacy program is that the government pharmacy colleges, which have so far kept Pharm D away from their premises, will accept the program into their curriculum as a dignified professional course. This will pave the way for all institutions to start the program from next academic year.
A consensus for dual approval has reached between the pharmacy education regulator (PCI) and the technical education regulator (AICTE) in a meeting held in New Delhi a few days ago. President and senior officers of the PCI and the top level officers of the AICTE attended the meeting. An announcement in this regard is likely to be made by the union government very shortly, sources informed.
Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) was started by the PCI in 2008 and was continuing as a course under its regulation without the approval of the AICTE, unlike all other pharmacy courses. It is now learned that from the upcoming academic year onwards, all pharmacy colleges attached to government medical colleges and affiliated with various universities can easily start the program. Although ten years have passed since the course was started and several batches have come out, only certain private universities in south India were conducting the program. So far, no government institution in the country has introduced the program in their curriculum due to disapproval by AICTE.
“Even though there is multiple control over other pharmacy courses such as D Pharm, B Pharm and M Pharm by various regulatory agencies like PCI, AICTE, Universities and Educational Boards under various state governments, Pharm D was entirely an own program of the PCI. Since the AICTE restrained itself from regulating the program of Pharm D, there was confusion about the future of the course among the students and the parents. If AICTE is willing to approve it, there will not be any space for confusion”, said an education expert.
Pharm D qualification was not included in the list of eligibility criteria for admission to Ph.D. in the pharmacy research institutes, known as, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) due to the disapproval of the course by AICTE. So, those who have completed the program have been denied seats for Ph.D. admissions in these institutes. Similarly, the students pursuing the course are now denied scholarships and stipends from the Ministry of Human Resources Development. With the decision of the AICTE to approve the course, there is immense scope for Pharm D students to avail opportunities for higher studies and research funds.