Technical education in India is plagued with many inadequacies. It has rendered the students coming out of most of the Institutes are almost unemployable. There have been some sporadic efforts to improve the situation, but most of the steps have not brought any significant changes. The benefits of close collaboration with industry for graduate/postgraduate professional students have been repeatedly emphasized in the literature. The School of Pharmacy and Technology Management – Shirpur Campus (SPTM) focuses on developing strong industry linkages to make education more meaningful. This paved the way for such collaboration where the projects were of industrial interest and the research supervisor too could make a significant contribution. “Students have gained hands-on experience by working on these projects at postgraduate level in the organizations like Aramuc India, Macleods Pharmaceuticals, Ajanta Pharma Ltd., Medley Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Ambernath Organics Private Ltd. Aramuc India Microlabs Ltd., Ashco Niulab Industries Ltd., Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Biocon Ltd, Pfizer India, Cadila Healthcare Ltd, Piramal Healthcare Ltd, Colgate Research Centre, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, and many more”, says Professor Dr Ambikanandan Misra, Director-Pharmaceutical Research, SPTM.
Developing and strengthening the Industry-Institute relationship is one of the integral parts of SPTM. MoUs help to bridge the gap between academics and the industries. This Industry- Institute collaborations facilitate industrial visits, industrial training, internship, guest lectures from eminent corporate guests, and placements. Renowned Pharmaceutical companies like Ajanta Pharma Ltd Mumbai, Lupin Ltd Mumbai, MIV Therapeutics Ahmedabad are part of a quickly growing list of our most trusted Industry Partners. “We are proud to have their support in ensuring that we set the highest benchmarks in educating our students that have been exposed to the best curriculum and received sufficient inputs from Industry to make them winners and get the success”, says Dr R. S. Gaud, Director, SPTM.
With the school envisioning to forge a strong relationship with the Pharma Industry that will intron nurture a fountainhead of young and bright stars of the future, the vision of SPTM has driven the formulation of a course syllabus, which places a great deal of emphasis on Industry interaction and hence, has the right balance of academic excellence and practical application. “Every week, we have two eminent speakers from the industry/academy to interact separately with our UG and PG students on current issues. We work in collaboration with more than 50 Pharmaceutical Companies for our M. Pharm. Research projects. We have received over Rs. 65 Lakh as Consultancy projects”, adds Dr Ambikanandan.
With excellent lab facilities, good teaching, and learning practices based majorly on student feedback systems, SPTM is a model pharmacy school that conducts various graduate, postgraduate, and research programs in pharmaceutical sciences. Along with their highly experienced faculty that encourages students to pursue their interests, the institute aims to offer a well-balanced curriculum, instruction, and practical experience along with motivation and inspiration for life-long learning that endows its students with the skills and abilities necessary to handle healthcare and modern pharmaceutical industry challenges.
Adapting to the ‘New Normal’
COVID 19 situation has taught every one of us that “Change is the only Constant”. With the present situation, online teaching has become a new mode of learning. University has already paid subscriptions of Microsoft teams, and theory class was shifted to online mode using MS teams. A battery of training sessions was scheduled for faculty members and other staff on how to use these platforms with all options available to do affective teaching and conduct meetings at regular intervals. With time online teaching mode was also used to its optimum level for the teaching and learning process with success. The remaining syllabus was also completed on these modes followed by the test & terminal examinations and result declaration of all the students.
Already have an online student portal for learning, the students and staff at SVKM’s NMIMS, SPTM quickly adapted to the changing situation. University and management have taken great efforts to make available the best online platforms and the latest technology to match up the standards and have smooth interactive teaching-learning sessions for the future. Training sessions were and are being continuously held for the teaching, non-teaching staff and students to get acquainted with new technologies and teaching-learning platforms. Sessions are taken to understand the problems faced while using online apps, and troubleshooting is planned accordingly. Meetings are held by top management to discuss the effective use of such online tools. The teachers and staff members are inspired to come up and share their innovative online teaching activities, and the best practices are awarded.
Building Stronger Academia-Industry Linkage
SPTM has always believed in serving employable youth in the industry. This is why the syllabus gets updated every year to include the advanced skills and knowledge required by the industry. The syllabus includes additional learning of topics like soft skills, teamwork, leadership, and crisis management. Guest lectures are conducted by Industrial and academic experts from the various field to keep them updated with current ongoing and future needs. They are allowed to use and experience advanced research and analytical instruments during their routine practical’s. Extra classes are taken for weak students. Students are motivated to take up an online course from esteemed portals of Swayam and Coursera to gain additional knowledge and skills. They are also being guided and helped to take up competitive exams and certification courses. Language class is also carried out to help them communicate effectively.
The first step SPTM took was to make sure their students reached their homes safely and maintained social distancing according to the guidelines laid out by the Government of India, Education Authorities, and University Recommendations. “We created awareness among the people residing in the villages around the campus. Groceries were distributed to the needy by the collected funds. Online webinars were attended by teachers and students to spread professional knowledge among society in an easy way. All the instructions issued by the Government and University were followed strictly during the lockdown period. Financial help is also being extended by management to COVID 19 patients. Even after lockdown, regular disinfection, use of sanitizers, social distance, and the wearing of a mask is strictly being adhered by each working staff after lockdown”, states Dr Gaud.
Witnessing a successful placement season in 2018-19, SPTM’s integrated programs of Pharmacy with Management degrees at the school continued to gain more and more popularity in the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare industry. The M. Pharm + MBA (Pharma Tech & Healthcare Management) batch was recruited by some of the best companies in the Healthcare Industry in a variety of profiles. Top Pharma heavyweights such as AstraZeneca, Cipla, Cognizant, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Neilsen, Markets & Markets, Optum, Indiabulls Pharma, Lupin, and many other Indian and MNCs participated in the placement season. They offered coveted profiles in Sales, Marketing, Business Development, Project Management, Operations, Consulting & Business Analytics. Summer Internships are an integral aspect of the pedagogy at NMIMS, offering students an opportunity to collaborate with the corporate world and put their skills and acquired learnings to practice.
Reminiscing his college days, Karan Trivedi, an alumnus of SPTM, says, “There are two stages in a man’s life. The first is the ’learning’ stage and the latter being the ‘evolving’ stage. Initially, the idea of leaving home and starting a new phase of life in a residential campus seemed to be the last thing I wanted. But now one year has passed, and as a second-year student, I feel I just made the right decision. Studying at SPTM, NMIMS, the Shirpur campus has been a pleasant experience. Needless to say, considering one in-class laboratory facilities, 24×7 internet connectivity, and the entire college experience is worth every penny. About the hostel life, after the entire day, life in the hostel with friends is just the icing on the cake. In a nutshell, I have been graced to be a part of the best institution. Proud to be an NMIMS student”.
Focusing and ensuring the holistic development of students, SPTM offers a plethora of opportunities to build and shape the students’ pharmacy knowledge, thinking and planning ability, leadership skills, professional identity, societal responsibility, environment consciousness and sustainability, ethics, communication skills, usage of modern tools, and lifelong learning, thus empowering them to be a complete professional in the pharmaceutical sector and contribute to society in a meaningful way.
Prof R. S. Gaud, Director, SVKM’s NMIMS, Shirpur Campus and Director, SVKM’s Pharma Institutions
Dr R. S. Gaud has long 42 years of professional experience in the field of Pharmacy. He is the founder Dean of School of Pharmacy & Technology Management, SVKM’s NMIMS (Deemed to be University), Mumbai. He was also an Advisor, AICTE, New Delhi for five years. Dr Gaud has authored 200+ peer-reviewed publications in journals of repute and 12 books in the field of pharmaceutical sciences. He has 02 patents to his credit. He was also President of Association of Pharmacy Teachers of India and made many reforms in the development of pharmacy education. He has guided 70+ postgraduate and 19 doctoral students for their research.