The Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) has welcomed the decision of Kerala government to conduct entrance test for the pharmacy courses, B Pharm and Pharm D. The national council considers the decision as an open recognition of the Pharm D programme by a state government.
According to the president of the PCI, Kerala government’s initiative to regulate the admission of pharmacy courses will enhance the quality of education and the PCI will support the government’s decision. “Any initiative for enhancing the quality of education needs to be encouraged and PCI continues to strive for the same”, said Dr B Suresh, president of the PCI.
Responding to the claims of government college teachers that entrance test will provide quality students to their institutions, he said the quality of students cannot be determined only on the basis of entrance examination and it needs to encompass many more attributes. “The quality of education depends on multiple factors and one of them includes admitting students who have excelled in their academics, and entrance examination can be one of such several indicators of excellence”.
But, he pointed out that a balancing in the process of admission needs to be arrived at because after the entrance test the meritorious students who join the program initially are likely to move away to medical or dental programmes later. This will affect the running of the course. Whereas, students who are keen to pursue the pharmacy programs should be admitted to their desired courses and no delay should be allowed for their admissions.
When his response was sought on the future of private institutions in the light of entrance test, the president of PCI said the private colleges are likely to face challenges in attracting students if the government keeps on sending students to medical or dental programmes. So, private institutions need to work out strategies with the admissions authorities.
When asked about such qualifying examinations prevalent in any other state in India, Dr Suresh said he has no specific idea about it, but it is reported that some states conduct the courses through centralized admission processes.
In Kerala, the government has decided to conduct entrance exam for pharmacy courses from this year. The Commissionerate of Entrance Examinations (CEE) will hold entrance test for Pharm D and B Pharm courses. Students who are seeking admissions to these courses must qualify the competitive examination and the colleges should fill up the total intake from the list prepared by the office of the CEE.