The COVID-19 has impacted drastically to the education sector. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with distinctive rise of e-learning. Research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information and take less time. “We believe that the integration of information technology in education will be further accelerated and that online education will eventually become an integral component of education.” opines Dr. P. D. Chaudhari, Principal of P. E. Society’s Modern College of Pharmacy, Nigdi, Pune.
The abruptness of the pandemic caught teachers and administrations unprepared for this transition and was forced to build emergency learning management systems. To mitigate these challenges, it was necessary to implement learning recovery programs to ensure that slow learners receive the support they need to catch up with the advanced learners in-order to prepare themselves for future. “To recover from affected teaching-learning process, we immediately started online teaching-learning management where teaching staff and students were trained for online pedagogy through various virtual Faculty Development programs, MOOC and webinars,” says Dr. Chaudhari, adding “Examination patterns were redesigned for online exams during COVID-19 and the students were trained and counselled for online exams.”
As the higher education system is becoming more student-centric, syllabus restructuring is expected with respect to pandemic management and the role of a pharmacist. Our faculty is poised to take-up every challenge & opportunity that these critical situations are generating. An update in communication channel was need of time and hence teachers as well as learners have sensed this situation & have moulded themselves as per the changing demands. Our faculty have toiled a lot to develop educational videos and make them available on YouTube channel of the college.
Imparting Quality Pharmacy Education
One of the premier institutes in pharmacy education, PESMCP was established in 1998 by the Progressive Education Society. With a vision of achieving excellence in pharmacy education, innovative research, and provide service to the society and profession. The college imparts futuristic learning in pharmacy to develop a pool of professionally competent, ethically sound, and skilled pharmacists at par with global standards. Situated in the Industrial belt of Pimpri-Chinchwad harbouring many pharmaceutical companies like Lupin, SAVA, Emcure, Centaur, Nulife, Callidus, etc, the college is poised to intensify the institute-industry interaction to boost professional skill sets and hands on experience among the students. The college has developed active linkages and MOU’s with Industry, Research Institutes and NGO’s to cater to the societal needs as a part of CSR. Frequent interactions are with industrial experts help students and faculty to acquaint with latest trends in pharma research.
To cope with current industrial research and to train students for fulfilling pharmaceutical industries’ requirements, the college organises State, National, and international level Seminars and workshops funded by various agencies like ICMR, AICTE, and the University of Pune, etc. The faculty are actively engaged in various consultancy projects from the industry and academic institutes. “A total of Rs. 1.84 Crores have been garnered in the form of research grants from various funding agencies like AICTE, DST, University of Pune, and ICMR, etc., in the last 5 years. The faculty members have published more than 700 research papers in various National and International journals till date. In all 5 patents are granted, and 7 patents have been published by the faculty,” points out Dr. Chaudhari.
Having invested more than Rs.2.58 Crores on Laboratory Equipments like HPTLC, HPLC, FTIR, Lyophilizer, Spray Dryer, Probe Sonicator, Spheronizer, R & D Coater, particle size analyser, Digital Microscope, Autoanalyser, Plethysmometer, Cryobath, Cooling Centrifuge, Orbital Shaker, Texture Analyser, Incubator Shaker, Deep Freezer, etc. of leading brands. To develop skilled and job-ready professionals, students are frequently exposed to and interacted with industry professionals by organising industrial visits, industrial training, and expert lectures from the industry. The institute also provides value-added courses in Clinical Research Educational Programme, cGMP, DRA & IPR. Dr. Chaudhari says, “We have been recognised as a Research Center by Savitribai Phule Pune University for the Pharmaceutical sciences. More than 80 % of the faculty are PhD qualified and are recognised guides for PG & PhD research. The college has awarded PhD to 10 scholars and PG to 447 research scholars. Many research scholars are pursuing PhD with JRF, SRF and other fellowships”.
It is heartening to state that reputed industries across the country visit this college for campus recruitment programs and recruiting around 75% of the graduates. The students have been employed in fields of Marketing, Production, Quality assurance, Quality Control, Pharmaceutical administration and regulatory affairs, Health/ Drug Inspectors, Hospital pharmacy in private or Govt. hospitals, Community pharmacy, Analysis in chemical and drug analysis laboratory, etc. “Some of our reputed recruiters are Cognizant Technology Solutions India Pvt. Ltd., Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Troikaa Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Sciformix, Sci-edge Abstracts, Randstad Ltd., GEBBS, Alkem Laboratories Ltd., Emcure Pvt. Ltd., Lupin Pvt. Ltd., British Biologicals Ltd., Centaur Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd, Ajanta Pharma, JB Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Stedman Pharmaceuticals Private Ltd., Pune, Agio Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Bhosari, Pune, Raptakos, Brett and Co. Ltd., MarksansPharma Ltd., Sun pharma laboratories Ltd., Stedman Pharmaceuticals Private Ltd., Fourrts Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., Neon Laboratories Ltd., IT Cube, Glenmark Ltd. Etc.”, states Dr. Chaudhari.
Shaping Students into Competent Industry Leaders
To instil confidence, knowledge, leadership qualities, organisational capacity, and professional skills, various curricular and extracurricular events are organised for the holistic development of our students. Every year, the college organises seminars, workshops, and conferences for the faculty and students. This activity helps in creating an effective learning environment, gaining expert knowledge, networking with others, and renewing the motivation and confidence of the participants. The IPA Pune Local branch is one of the active branches of IPA in India. Dr. Chaudhari explains, “The Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) has been celebrating the National Pharmacy Week every year. Every year, the college works in close coordination with the IPA Pune branch is celebrating National Pharmacy Week. During the NPW celebration, various competitions and events are conducted for students of the Pune region. This is done to create awareness about the pharmacy profession amongst the society.”
Learning by doing is a major pedagogical initiative that includes Herbaria preparation, where students have been asked to visit fields for the collection of medicinal plants. Collection, field survey, and preservation of the herbarium specimen. Students are encouraged to develop 3-D Models (like virus structure, cell membrane, cell components, etc.) and working models of pharmaceutical instruments (like Planetary mixer, ball mill, Fluidised Bed Dryer, Hammer mill, etc.). In the Creative Learning method, students are asked to design histological models of internal anatomy for authenticating the crude drugs. “Our magazine, PANACEA, is published every alternate year where students make a major contribution. Students have participated in various extracurricular and co-curricular competitions like quizzes, debates, etc., to develop their latent talents. Students have also participated in various cultural event competitions like dance, singing, fashion show, etc. to develop social skills”, explains Dr. Chaudhari.
Equipping and training learners with desired qualities stressing knowledge, skill, and attitude that contribute to the image and brand building of the college. The college is updating and upgrading their faculty by giving wider exposure to diverse academic events. Broadening the area of extension activities for the holistic development of learners, the institute is providing a conducive and cohesive ambience and state-of-the-art infrastructure for development, study, and research to impart and enhance the quality of pharmacy education. “We want to create a centre for excellence with a purpose of knowledge creation, and knowledge dissemination fostering front-line research in the key area of pharmacy and make Pharmacy education more relevant with current & contemporary needs to keep pace with knowledge & Information age,” concludes Dr. Chaudhari.
About Prof. Dr. G. R. Ekbote
Prof. Dr. G. R. Ekbote, Hon. Chairman Progressive Education Society is a practicing surgeon & Professor of Surgery at BJ Medical College, Pune. He has actively worked as Member, Steering Committee on Higher & Tech. Education; Member, Planning Commission, India; Dean, Faculty of Medicine; Member, Management Council; Member, Academic Council; Member, Senate, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune & MUHS, Nasik. He has also worked as Pro Vice-Chancellor, MUHS., Nasik. Owing to his outstanding contribution to the field of education, he has been granted an equivalence of Ph.D. by Maharashtra University of Health Sciences.
About Dr. P. D. Chaudhari
Principal of PES’s Modern College of Pharmacy, Dr. P.D Chaudhari holds a master’s degree in Pharmacy, PhD, and MMS in Marketing. He is the president of the Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India; and member of various prestigious committees like the Indian Pharmaceutical Congress Association; and Member, Academic Council, Savitribai Phule Pune University. He has also served as the Dean of Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Savitribai Phule Pune University, and the Co-Chairman of Local Organising Committee 69th IPC 2017, at Chandigarh.