Islamabad-The Department of Pharmacy at Quaid-i-Azam University has been working without accreditation from the Pharmacy Council of Pakistan for the last six years, disclosed an official on Monday.

The non-registration of the department offering five-year doctorate and MPhil programmes has led to frustration amongst the students as they face difficulties while applying for public-sector jobs. Along with the job access problem, the students are also deprived of availing a pharmacist license, a compulsory certificate required for starting a pharmacy shop.

Despite of number of efforts and correspondence, the Pharmacy Council of Pakistan (PCP) did not recognise the department for failing to fulfil the requirements prescribed by the council.

The official told The Nation that the university and the department failed in convincing inspection teams of the PCP to register the department. The PCP in 2013 had advised the department to stop admissions in the various programmes as it was not functioning in a proper building. The council had also refused to issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the department.

The official added that the PCP inspection team visited the department for accreditation again in 2016 and observed that the student-teacher ratio for Pharm-D programme was still not according to the requirement. The PCP recommended for recruitment of more teachers in the department as per the required student-teacher ratio of 10:1 and also strengthening senior positions like professor and associate professor as a mandatory measure.

The team advised the university to apply for the NOC for post-graduate classes as well. The team also said that the board of study lacked several required specialties.

“In light of the inspection team recommendations, the university should meet deficiencies pointed out by the team at the earliest so that the case of recognition could be re-examined and the university could be re-visited for accreditation,” the PCP said.

The council decided to defer the case for accreditation till the requirements are met.

Meanwhile, the university in November 2017 again applied for accreditation, claiming that it had fulfilled the requirements of the council. The letter said, “In compliance to the directives of the PCP, the university has advertised 17 new positions including one professor, 3 associate professors, 8 assistant professors and 5 lab technicians in addition to the existing 16 faculty members, almost all of them being PhDs”.

The university also replied to the PCP about its observation on diversification of board of studies that five new members including Dr Muhammad Aslam, Dr AQ Javed Iqbal, Yasmeen, Musthaq Anjum and Zia ud Din had been added as members of the board of studies.

A female student of MPhil programme while requesting anonymity revealed that non-registration of the department had created confusion amongst students as their degrees were incomplete without accreditation of the department. She said that though the graduated students were being employed in the private sector but they faced difficulties when applying in public-sector organisations.

“A number of students who planned to start pharmacy business are still waiting for the license from the council but since 2011, but the matter is pending due to non-recognition of the department,” she said.

During the recent strike in the university, the students had also demanded registration of pharmacy department with the PCP.

The Vice Chancellor QAU Dr Javed Ashraf while talking to The Nation claimed that all requirements of the PCP had been fulfilled. He said that the university administration was waiting for the next visit of the PCP. He expressed the hope that the PCP would recognise the department after the next visit of its inspection team.