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PCI should revise B Pharm curriculum as per NEP 2020 stressing on pharmacy practice & industry: Expert

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
Saturday, August 6, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Foreseeing that the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 will enable to bring higher competency in pharmacy education, an academic policy expert with international pedagogical experience has wanted the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) to ponder over revising the existing curriculum for the degree course, B Pharm, in accordance with the new NEP.
The veteran educationist, who is the president of the Kerala IPA, has opined that drastic changes are required in the curriculum for the bachelor of pharmacy course. According to him, the syllabus should be framed in such a way that it must help the students opt for a specialization as per their choice or aptitude.
Prof Dr P Jayasekhar, former dean at the department of pharmacy at National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Muscat, in his letter to the PCI has stated that a reconstruction of the curriculum with two streams of specializations is the need of the hour to aid the national education policy 2020. One stream should be to suit the pharmacy practice setting and the other one to befit the industry setting. This focused area of study can be attached to the syllabus in the final year, with the option for choosing the student’s interested subject. He can either opt for a pharmacy practice setting or choose industry as his favorite area for specialization. 
Commenting on the NEP 2020, he said the new policy envisions creation of competent pharmacy professionals, but if the goal is to be achieved the structure of the existing curriculum has to be totally revamped with priority for specialization. In the modern world, he opines, competency comes through specialization only. In foreign countries, especially in UAE and in the UK, Pharm D qualified professionals are handling the pharmacy practice side which comes under clinical pharmacy. The Pharm D people are specialized in that area. Whereas, in industry settings post-graduates in pharmacy with technical knowhow, Master of Science in Pharmacy (MS), are considered to manage the sector. Since the pharmacy profession is uniform in nature in international level, these two streams of specializations are mandatorily required in the new education regulations for the B Pharm. PCI has to look seriously into the matter, he said.
“In the first three years of the program, the students can learn all the common subjects. Specialization is required only in the final year. Today, in the existing syllabus all subjects are mixed, so it cannot help for competency. We need competent professionals, not merely for our state or for our country, but for the needs of the whole world. Pharmaceutical science is such a profession. It is the responsibility of the PCI to keep up the credibility and dignity of the profession and implement reforms to suit it. I hope that the PCI will positively look into the matter to revamp the curriculum,” he commented while talking to Pharmabiz.
For a meaningful alignment of the specialization, Dr. Jayasekhar said the internship program for the degree students should be made as a one-year responsibility and it should be made compulsory. The degree should be awarded only after successful completion of the internship which can be conducted either in accredited hospitals or industries. Students preferring pharmacy practice settings should be allowed to do their internship in hospitals where a university approved preceptor should monitor their practical training. In accredited hospitals the head of the clinical pharmacy department should be approved as the preceptor by the university. In industry, the university can send a panel of experts to assess whether the facility is suitable for an internship or not. If it is found fit, the university can approve the head of the QA or QC departments as preceptors or it can prepare a list of empanelled preceptors for the whole state to supervise industry internship of the students.
He said the internship period for medical courses and for veterinary courses is fixed for one year. Likewise, the internship for the four year B Pharm course should also be made one year.
Dr. Jayasekhar wanted the educational institutions in the country to support his proposal and comment with additional inputs, if any. He also wanted the pharmacy teachers to put forth similar suggestions to the PCI to strengthen the pharmacy education as per the new NEP. Dr. Jayasekhar was previously working in the Government Pharmacy College at Thiruvananthapuram.


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