Although the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have reached on some agreements over control of pharmacy education in the country, it seems that the AICTE is not interested to budge in certain policy matters.
AICTE has decided to go ahead with its plan for regulating all courses in pharmacy taking it as a technical course. It is learnt that, to the demand for the PCI for independent control over pharmacy education, the AICTE is not interested to budge from its stand.
As per the latest decision of the technical education regulator, it will conduct a national level survey shortly to record the seats in each pharmacy college for each course and how other facilities are used in each institution. If it is found that more seats are vacant and the buildings, common land and other infrastructure facilities are not fully utilized, AICTE will approve courses other than pharmacy to run in such institutions. The plan is to make the pharmacy college campus an integrated campus for various technical courses. The institutions can go with engineering, life-sciences courses, architecture, MBA, etc.
According to sources from AICTE, the aim of the technical council is maximum utilization of the resources available in the pharmacy colleges, most of which are running short of adequate number of students for their courses.
Infrastructure facilities like buildings, library, laboratory facilities, computer centres, playgrounds, faculties, etc will be used for conducting other engineering or architecture programs. A pharmacy college premises will become a common facility for all courses regulated by AICTE. This will save the resources of the institution and the potential of the teaching staffs can be exploited at the maximum.
According to pharmacy institutions heads, with the decision of the AICTE, a pharmacy college management can run other courses provided adequate facilities are there in the college. Similarly, a technical educational institution can also covert their facilities for pharmacy education. There will not be any restriction for running of educational courses either in pharmacy institution or in technical institution.
Currently, all the courses in pharmacy, from Diploma to PG (D Pharm, B Pharm and M Pharm) are approved by the technical education council. The only programme which is not approved by AICTE is Pharm D, which was started by PCI. But in future, AICTE will have control over this doctoral program also.
AICTE will release the Approval Process Hand Book next month.