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Pharmacy Education Framework Validation

The WHO UNESCO FIP Pharmacy Education Taskforce is moving forward with plans to validate the Global Framework for Quality Assurance of Pharmacy Education.

The Framework, which was officially adopted by FIP and launched in September 2008, sets out core principles and elements considered essential for an effective approach to quality assurance of pharmacy education. The validation process involves completing an online assessment of the various components and quality criteria set out in the Framework.

"The Framework was developed with broad-based input so the objective of the exercise is to further evaluate the validity of the document through a structured process involving a range of countries," said Mike Rouse, Assistant Executive Director, International and Professional Affairs of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, and the Taskforce's Project Lead for Quality Assurance.

"The Framework was designed and developed for global application, so it is important that we test it in as many different types of pharmacy education settings as we can," he said.

The Taskforce team is aiming for participation from 15 to 20 countries. Thus far, individuals from twelve countries (Australia, Canada, Egypt, Ghana, India, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, United States, and Zambia) have agreed to participate in the exercise. Other invited countries include Costa Rica, El Salvador, Finland, Great Britain, Korea, The Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa and Syria.

Four individuals from each participating country - representing the perspectives of pharmacy practice, academia, pharmacy practice regulation and quality assurance or accreditation of pharmacy education - will complete an online survey instrument. The survey instrument addresses the validity and applicability of each component of the Framework to the respondent's country. The sections of the survey instrument include areas such as: the philosophy and purpose of quality assurance; the structure, policies and procedures of a national quality assurance system; and quality criteria for the outcomes, structure and processes of a pharmacy school and its professional degree program.

"Some elements or quality criteria of the Framework may not apply to a particular country," Rouse said, "but the aggregated responses will provide valuable feedback for the revision and enhancement of the Framework."

Rouse stressed that the Framework was developed with the knowledge that no single tool can be expected to accurately reflect or cater for every national system given the current global diversity and evolving nature of pharmacy education and practice. The Framework is not intended as a global standard; however, core elements and principles of quality assurance should remain essentially the same around the world. The Framework is intended as a foundation that can be adapted and built-upon to suit national needs, systems and conditions or as a benchmark to validate and/or improve existing systems. The quality criteria from the Framework are also being used in the development of a self-assessment tool for professional degree programs in pharmacy similar in scope and format to the document developed for medical education based on the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) standards.

Results from the validation process are expected by FIP Congress 2009. It is proposed that a new version of the Framework will be released after revision by the Taskforce and adoption by FIP. Version 1 of the Global Framework for Quality Assurance of Pharmacy Education is available here.

The FIP WHO UNESCO Pharmacy Education Taskforce is a coordinating body of organisations, agencies, institutions, and individuals with the shared goal of catalysing actions to develop pharmacy education. The purpose of the Taskforce is to oversee the implementation of the Pharmacy Education Taskforce Action Plan 2008-2010. The Action Plan aims to enable the sustainability of a pharmacy workforce that is relevant to local needs. The Action Plan is dedicated to three domains of action: quality assurance, academic and institutional capacity, and competency and vision for pharmacy education.