Downplaying all apprehensions of pharmacy teachers across the country with respect to job security in the light of teaching through virtual classes in place of teaching in the brick and mortar class rooms, the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) has assured them that the technology based online teaching is not a substitute for teachers in pharmacy, it is merely a support for education.
At a time when students are locked up at homes, the technology enabled teaching and learning has a significant role to play in the education of professional courses like pharmaceutical sciences. This is a short-term phenomenon, said Dr B Suresh, president of the PCI, while addressing the teachers.
The national committee of the Association of Pharmacy Teachers of India (APTI) in association with Indian Pharmacy Council organized a national level virtual conference on the theme, “Prepping Tomorrow’s Teachers”.
Participating in the video conference as the chief guest, Dr Suresh said education without teachers is an incomplete process, but integration of technology into education should be for supporting it and not for substituting the teachers. Pharmacy education includes theory and practical, these two segments cannot be fulfilled as fully-fledged without teachers.
He said concern of job security is one of the challenging conundrums that the pharmacy teachers face today. Pharmacy education is a professional education and it is one of the areas in the higher education system. All over India there are over 3.5 crore students pursuing various programs in the higher education sector.
“Teachers are transformative people who evaluate the requirements of students. The present situation creates confusion in so many teachers that whether online teaching will take away the jobs of the academicians. This is one of the major conundrums the teachers face today. Here the teachers must understand that technology is not a substitute for teachers, but it is only a support for education,” he told members of the APTI.
Along with, the PCI president added one crucial point the teachers have to understand and comprehend is that changes, whether they are in technology infrastructure or in curriculum, are imminent. So, they must make changes in their mode of teaching, in their attitude and modify themselves to be adaptable to all the changes happening in education due to technology. He reminded them that in next three years time, a technology based teaching method will be formed globally and pharmacy education will have major priorities in it.
According to him, it is the duty of the institutions to provide adequate information technology infrastructure to the class rooms and to the teachers for tomorrow’s teaching career. The teachers of tomorrow must strive to update what is happening in the education sector and in their subjects. Everybody wants education to go on, but it is subject to changes, consequently the scope of collaborative teaching will emerge.
A student of a particular program or a professional can learn his subject from more than one teacher or from a teacher and an industry expert simultaneously. But this cannot be applied as far as practical classes are concerned. In the laboratory the teachers have to physically instruct the students for the practical sessions. Benefits of virtual classes can be shared with students only on theory part, said Dr. Suresh, who is the Pro-Chancellor of the JSS deemed-to-be-university.
In the video conference, more than 4,000 teachers from 1,200 institutions attended. Dr. Mihir Kumar Kar, president of Odisha branch of the APTI asked questions on teachers’ salary and other benefits. The PCI president said the institutions will take up the matter seriously.