NEW DELHI: Engineering and management courses in private institutions across the country seem to be losing the steam but another kind of institutions offering technical degrees — in pharmacy — are on an unprecedented rise. Figures with India’s technical education regulator show that about 75 per cent of the 522 new institutes which have got permission to open in the 2018-19 academic session, are pharmacy institutions.
As many as 130 engineering, 82 management and 21 existing pharmacy colleges on the other down had to shut their shops due to quality issues, says All India Council for Technical Education. From the academic session 2018-19, 392 new pharmacy colleges for the first time, will open their gates for admissions. AICTE officials pointed out that following the slowdown in engineering admissions and stringent rules imposed by the regulator on engineering education meant that there are 1.67 lakh lesser engineering seats on offer this year. “In many cases, engineering colleges have now turned into pharmacy institutes,” said a senior AICTE official. “Quality however remains the issue and we need to address the problem before it becomes an engineering like crisis.”
The permission to new colleges comes after the Council recently introduced standard syllabi for B Pharma and M Pharma courses. The new syllabi, formulated by a committee whose members include academicians as well as representatives from pharmaceutical sector, have come into force from the ongoing academic session. “The universities were to contribute their own part in the curriculum for each course as we have them freedom to the universities to introduce some element on their own,” said a source in AICTE. Experts point out that the sharp rise in number of pharmacy colleges should raise a concern and merely prescribing a standard syllabus might not be enough.
“In 2010, there were less than 900 pharmacy colleges in the country. It is evident that due to a drop in engineering admissions, the number of pharmacy colleges has seen an upsurge,” said Mohan Yadav, principal of a government medical college in Haryana. “I wonder if all the colleges which are getting registrations are being evaluated properly.”