Close on the heels of its recommendations to the pharmacy colleges to conduct remaining theory classes through online mode, the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) has asked the universities and the board of examinations to promote students to next semester/year without appearing for examinations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown in the country.
However, the students of the particular semester/year have to take the examinations along with next year’s examinations or before that as per the decision of the examination authorities.
In this regard, the PCI has given a set of suggestions to universities and board of examinations to be considered as temporary recommendations with reference to regulations of various pharmacy programmes for conducting examinations and promoting students to the next immediate semester/year.
Universities run degree (B Pharm and B Pharm-practice), post graduate (M Pharm) and Pharm D programmes in pharmaceutical sciences, while either medical education board or technical education board in states conducts diploma course (D Pharm) following different education regulations.
The one-time recommendations issued to the examining authorities by the PCI can be taken as extraordinary guidelines from the pharmacy education regulator to complete the academic course activities with respect to each course in the present time of increased and overwhelming concerns due to rising spread of COVID-19, according to Dr B Suresh, president of the PCI.
As per the pro-tem recommendations of the PCI, registered students of a particular semester/year of a programme, who are unable to appear for examinations in the particular semester/year because of the present COVID pandemic, will be permitted to progress into the next higher semester/year. But they have to take the examinations of that semester/year along with the next examinations or before that as planned by the examining authorities.
The examining authorities are free to decide whether to conduct the examinations along with the next semester/year or hold one special examination at any time of the second term. There is no hurdle for the students to progress into the next semester/year although examination is not taken place during this COVID period.
However, it is mandatory that students progressed into final semester/year of their courses without attending previous year’s examination because of postponement due to COVID pandemic need to pass the previous year’s examination to become eligible for award of the degree. Only if they are successful in all the subjects of the examination, practical, internal assessments and in submission of thesis they will be awarded the degree.
As regards the theory and practical papers of the final semester/year of the degree courses, B Pharm and B Pharm (Practice), the central pharmacy council has appealed to the examining authorities to conduct the examinations of these papers as early as possible in order to avoid delay in announcing the results as the passing out students may opt for pursuing higher studies. However, they will be considered eligible for higher education only on clearing examinations of all subjects of the course.
Institutions running D.Pharm, B.Pharm, M.Pharm, Pharm.D and B.Pharm (Practice ) programmes have been advised to hold the internal assessments in various courses as provided in the various regulations relating to the conduct of each course in a time-bound manner. They can use online assessment mode such as MCQ (multiple choice questions) or Open Book Assessments or Problem based Assessment etc ) so that the students will be able to complete a part of their academic requirements to be eligible for admission to the respective examinations, PCI suggests.