Since the C-19 situation is getting from bad to worse in almost all parts of the country, the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) has advised all the universities and institutions to put up necessary timetable and structure in place to conduct online teaching, examination, internship and practical training to the students of all courses.
Stressing on health and safety of students, faculties and other staff of the institutions, the pharmacy council, in an advisory to all institutions, universities and examining authorities, wanted to maintain continuity of all courses albeit the shutting of colleges prolong for an uncertain period in case of multiplication of the virus infection.
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The advisory gives freedom to the institutions in carrying out the theory part through remote teaching method until they are asked to open for regular classes. Nevertheless, the institutions should share the learning resources with the students in advance through their websites.
Further, the materials can be either emailed to the students or sent to them using some other applications. It is the duty of the institutions to encourage the students to engage themselves in self-learning and make full use of online resources and learn about the latest academic developments.
The instructions emphasize that every university or institution must complete each semester of the degree and post graduate course on time as per the curriculum and in the same way the first year and second year of the diploma course should be concluded.
The mode of teaching can be online supported by various technology platforms. But there will not be any kind of compromise on the part of the education regulator to see that the full course of teaching during each semester or academic year completed in time.
As far as the remote teaching is concerned, the institutional heads or the head of department (HoD) of colleges should document the details of classes taken, students engaged, percentage of attendance, and assessments and assignments conducted. These things have to be performed in the same way as those were done earlier at the time of regular classes.
In the case of practical demonstrations to progress along with the advance of theory classes, the institutions should conduct video demonstrations using standard technologies and a virtual mode of practical demonstration should be developed.
The colleges can apply various technology applications for developing this virtual practical demonstration method. In this practical demonstration classes, all the departments should maintain the attendance and record of the assignments given to the students.
As regards facilities for students to update more on their syllabus, they should be provided with e-library facility by the institutions, and similarly faculties must be given internet connectivity for pursuing their academic responsibilities.
For a strong mental preparation for the students the colleges should provide professional psychological counseling to those who need them because they are likely to have fear or stress associated with pandemic, feels the PCI.
With regard to internal assessments in various courses of D Pharm, B Pharm, M Pharm and Pharm D, the institutions have been asked to conduct the assessments as provided in the various regulations using online assessments mode.
The council feels that this will help the students to complete a part of their academic requirements in order to be eligible for admission to the respective examinations. All courses should be completed on time.
Further, the advisory wants the institutions to conduct seminars, journal clubs and other academic activities as usual through online mode. They can be carried out using various learning resources, technology platforms and innovative teaching approaches. The details of these academic activities must also be documented.
As regards conduct of examinations, the institutions must hold the exams as per regulations following the prescribed C-19 protocols issued by the government.
If the students are unable to be mobilized for examinations by the institutions or universities due to quarantine procedures, the institutions can adopt collaborative effort with other universities or institutions in the state or other states.
Students who are not able to travel out of their state/district can appear for examinations in institutions nearby their houses in respective states or districts. Universities or institutions must make arrangements for this by discussing with other state institutions.
In the case of those diploma students who are unable to appear for examination, they should be provided the option to progress with their practical training as mentioned in chapter III of the education regulations. They can appear and pass their second year examination before being awarded the diploma in pharmacy.
In the case of internship for Pharm D students, they will be allowed to do internship in any hospital in India approved by the PCI. Since this is for the convenience of the students, the principal of the colleges where the students are studying must reach an agreement with the hospital authorities.
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