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UTech wants investigation in pharmacy exam

Published:Wednesday | January 27, 2016 | 1:00 AM

Dr Ellen Campbell Grizzle, dean of the College of Health Sciences, which has responsibility for the School of Pharmacy at the University of Technology (UTech), has called for an investigation into the failure rate of the licensure exam administered by the Pharmacy Council of Jamaica (PCJ).

Campbell Grizzle is a member of the council, which is facing heavy criticisms over the administration of this year's exam and for statements made by its registrar, Dr Radcliffe Goulbourne, questioning the quality of UTech pharmacy graduate.

"I am of the opinion the failure rate for 2015, at this first sitting after a 12-month period of training, requires investigation," she told The Gleaner in a statement reacting to a recent disclosure that 50 per cent of UTech pharmacy graduates who sat the exam last year failed to gain the 70 per cent mark needed to pass the exam.

She added: "In our university, when such anomalies (30 per cent failure or above 80 per cent passes) occur, we examine the quality of instruction, the content of the module, students evaluation and the level at which the examination is set, among other factors. This process reveals findings that prompt changes to improve the module and our course of study. We commend such a review process to the PCJ at this time."

PCJ registrar, Dr Radcliffe Goulbourne has said that most students failed the exam because of an inability to apply knowledge and critical thinking skills. He also said that the chairman of the council, Dr Thelma Nelson, had made contact with UTech to discuss the issue.

 

NO CAUSE FOR WORRY

 

Campbell Grizzle has, however, said "the public has no cause to worry about the quality of pharmacists trained by UTech".

Meanwhile, the head of the School of Pharmacy at UTech, Dr Sean Moncrieffe, has defended the quality of the pharmacy

programme offered by the school.

"Students are subject to both formative and summative evaluations during these experiential modules which they must pass before being awarded the bachelor of pharmacy degree," he said.

In a joint response to questions from The Gleaner, Campbell Grizzle and Moncrieffe argued that UTech delivers and maintains a bachelor of pharmacy course of study of very high standard.

They pointed out that UTech recognises the critical role that pharmacists play as members of the health-care team and therefore the need for pharmacy graduates to possess pertinent knowledge and to be able to apply this knowledge in the practice setting.

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com