How can we make pharmacy education industry friendly?

One of my MBA friend once asked me, why persons who didn’t indulge in any type of business in their life, are the writers of books in Masters of Business Administration department. When theoretical knowledge and actual business life are two very different aspects, how can a person write about business only based at theoretical knowledge or based upon only a degree? I was speechless what he has been told. His few lines struck at my mind and heart. His thoughts were right. Even how can a person teach to students if he doesn’t know the reality of a business, Reality of start-ups, difficulties, life of corporate world etc? We discussed a lot about this topic. He told me many related things that happened during his college life. He was speaking and I was thinking about my college life.

His lines were not only applicable to his education but also for our whole educational system. In reality, first time I thought about this very sensitive topic. Was he right or he was frustrated? What would you say? There will be two types of readers reading this article. One who are doing jobs or businesses and knows the reality of actual business life? Second one who will not agree with my views?

For doing business, it is not necessary to be masters in business administration. Even we don’t need any degree or college education. Just took two examples, Face book founder mark zuckerberg and Microsoft Founder Bill Gates. Both are college drop outs. This list does not stop here. It is long lasting list. World’s top business icons don’t even have a college degree. On other side persons having Ph.D. in business, don’t take a risk to start a business. Business is a risky work. They are happy in their jobs of teaching or in any government department.

This article’s purpose is not to hurt my or other’s teachers and mentors who supported me and others to achieve heights in life. Who teach me how to write these lines? My only purpose is to express my views about this current educational system. Real blogging is to provide knowledge to own readers and express own views. That’s only thing I am sharing here. I am not so intelligent to challenge our respected seniors in my profession but expressing own view is right of every person.

In India, more than 75% of chemist shops, 90% of wholesale shops and 95% of pharmaceutical companies are owned by non pharmacists. That’s not the exact data but I am sure it is approximate data as of reality. If this is Ok then what is the need of Pharmacy Education? Why did we all waste over many years in pharmacy profession? It could be ok for others but not for me.

Why the structure of pharmacy profession is so poor in India. One of the main reasons is our educational system. Similar as in MBA, how can a person who don’t know about reality of pharma profession write books about pharmacy. What will he teach to his students about industry, he don’t know. A person with only theoretical knowledge can’t guide to his followers. Ultimately he will destroy their career. If you are not agreed with me then I want to know the reason why masters in pharmacy pass outs are doing job as a medical representative. Is it their place? They should have been in R&D department of any pharmaceutical company. Is it their fault? No, it’s not their fault, it’s our systems fault.

In professional courses, a lecturer is not only a lecturer; he is mentor of all his students. He is a guider who will guide them about right path. We don’t go to college to study; we go to learn about life, a professional life. We have studied till our schools. But here also we learn only to score more and more as we were doing in schools. Not learn about life or about reality. Our educational system says, a M. Pharma is eligible to teach a B. Pharma student. But on what basis we can consider them eligible. A theoretical knowledge is only bases of our educational system and we are following it generation to generation. A B. Pharmacy student spends his four years in a sixty student’s class rooms and in covered labs. Then what will he learns about industry? College has collected its fees and lecturers have received their salary. But a student career has been destroyed. After going into market, he starts to know the reality. He has to start from beginning. His qualification is considered equal to a simple science graduation, even in some cases, he has to work with qualification persons having qualification equivalent to simple graduation.

Anyone may think but I don’t think, a person who is good in study can also be good in teaching. Studying and teaching are two different aspects. A good student can’t be always a good teacher but a average student could also possess a quality of a good teacher. Bookish knowledge can’t be the basis of our education system. We have to build an education system based at practical knowledge and regular updates. If any degree or education would be the basis of our science base society then Newton and Einstein wouldn’t be the part of research and development of modern science. They both didn’t have any degree in science but they did what we know. Their researches and inventions were based upon their practical knowledge, not based upon theoretical knowledge.

What will he start after passing out from college? Couldn’t we give him that knowledge during his college life? If anyone who has any single authority to change our educational system, may consider any of following thoughts that may be beneficial for pharmacy education:

  1. Pharmacy Educational system should be based only at practical knowledge. Theoretical knowledge is essential but at limited level. Practical knowledge will create generousness, student will try to know about its theoretical aspects. From second academic year, a student should spend at least seven months in pharmaceutical industry. It will prevent his two years of struggle that he will have to spend after completion of education. A diploma in pharmacy student should be allowed to work seven months in a year at chemist or hospital pharmacies. A bachelor student should be allowed to work seven months in a year at manufacturing unit as production supervisor or analytical supervisor. A Masters and Pharma D student should be allowed to work of his industrial time period in Research and Development (R&D) section of pharmaceutical company. That should be responsibility of a college to arrange student’s industrial training for specific period and should ensure about proper implementation of industrial training. Pharmaceutical companies should also welcome this step because they will get more staff force without any extra expenses. This may be costly for students in accordance with accommodation. That work could be handled by companies because they are getting employees without any salary. They have to spend three thousand per student; it will be cheaper for them. This step may prevent student’s two years of struggle which they spend after completion of their education. It will also increase employment record of pharmacy students because companies will be happy to recruit already experience professionals. In some cases, companies will try to retain best students who were doing industrial training in their units. 
  2. Lecturers should have industrial experience to teach pharmacy students at least for B. Pharmacy, M. Pharmacy and Pharma D students. Lecturers should be from every department of pharmaceutical industry i.e. production, analytical, marketing and sales, R&D, administration, business, clinical research and account etc. Lecturers will not only teach but also we work as mentor to guide at right path because they know exactly what the reality of pharmaceutical market is? 
  3. Pharmaceutical Currents Affairs subject should also be added along with other subjects and should be updated in every six months. It will update all students’ knowledge about their field’s happenings. This will be helpful to them about deciding their career and future. Students will be regularly aware about pharmaceutical sector. Traits and opportunities in pharmaceutical sectors will generate their interest in filed and many of them will be future entrepreneurs and inventors of new pharmaceutical sector.
  4. Marks system should be replaced with grading system. Grading system should be based upon aggregates of their industrial performance and learning, their knowledge level, intellectual level and written exam etc. It should not be limited to any single level. It should be so that it don’t de-motivate any student and don’t make students careless about system. It should motivate students to improve their performance to get better grade. 
  5. Timely all colleges should conduct lectures of guest lecturers from higher levels of pharmaceutical industry who guide them how can they be successful in pharmaceutical industry. Share their experiences with students. Guest lecturers should be from all segments of pharmaceutical business like sales, marketing, administration, production, quality, research etc.

India is the largest manufacturer of generic pharmaceutical products in world. Now it’s time to think what is the role of Pharmacy Education in pharma sector growth? Think! We don’t have any contribution. Really!!!

Hope above information are useful to you, for any query and suggestion, mail us at pharmafranchiseehelp@gmail.com

Read Related: Career opportunities for pharmacy students

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