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As demand for Engineering falls, Pharmacy picks up


Number of institutes, approved intake & actual enrolment have all increased in the last 7 years, in the case of Pharma. This increase has coincided with the fall in Engineering.


In the previous story, we looked at how the demand for Engineering & Management has fallen over the years. From the data available on the AICTE website, Pharmacy has picked up as a preferred course coinciding with the fall in demand for Engineering.

Number of Institutes & Approved, both increase in the case of Pharmacy course

In direct contrast to Engineering, pharmacy has witnessed an increase in the number of institutes offering the course, the approved intake and the actual enrolment.

In terms of the institutes offering this course, the number has increased from 1425 in 2012-13 to 2579 in 2019-20, an increase of close to 81%. In just 2019-20, this number has increased 32% compared to 2018-19. In the case of the approved intake, it increased from 1.61 lakh in 2012-13 to 2.66 lakh in 2019-20, an increase of 65%. As with the number of institutes, there has been significant increase of 60394 seats (29%) in the approved intake in the last one year itself.

Pharmacy Enrolment up 55% in 7 years

In terms of the actual enrolment, it has increased from 99247 in 2012-13 to 153736 in 2018-19, an increase of 55%. It has to be noted that the enrolment in Engineering fell by more than 20% during the same period.

Even in terms of approved intake Vs actual enrolment, pharma has done better compared to Engineering. In the seven year period from 2012-13 to 2017-18, the enrolment to intake percentage in the case of pharma was about 64% compared to 55% in Engineering. In fact, in 2018-19, this went up to 75% in the case of pharma, with 3 out of every 4 seats getting filled up.

Proportion of Girls better than Engineering, but the share is down over the years

The overall participation of girls in this program is much better than that in Engineering. The proportion of girls who enrolled for Pharma during this seven-year period was around 41% compared to 25% in the case of Engineering.

But, even in the case of Pharma, the proportion of girls has fallen over time. In 2012-13, their share in enrolment was around 43%. But since then, it has continuously fallen except for the year 2015-16. As per the latest data for 2018-19, girls account for 37.7% Pharma enrolments compared to 24% in the case of Engineering.

Placement is an issue for Pharma as well

Like in the case of Engineering, placement of graduates looks like an issue in Pharma as well. As per the self-declared statistics by institutes, between 2012-13 & 2017-18, around 41.1% of Pharma graduates were placed compared to 40.6% in the case of Engineering.

Number of Pharmacy institutions increase across India except in AP & Telangana

Unlike in the case of Engineering, the number of pharmacy institutes has increased in all the regions except in South Central region comprising Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. In these two states, the Pharmacy education grew along with Engineering and has now fallen because of the saturation in the number of colleges.  The greatest increase of Pharma institutes is witnessed in the North (UP, Bihar & Uttarkahand) and in the West (Maharashtra & Goa). In the North, the number of Pharma institutes has increased by more than 5 times in the last 8 years, so much so that 414 institutes were added in Uttar Pradesh alone in 2019-20.

Employability & Out-dated Syllabi could be the reasons for the slump in Engineering

While there have been several debates about the decreasing demand for Engineering, out-dated syllabus in colleges, employability of engineers, market oriented approach towards education may also have influenced the trend. In the draft National Education Policy, improvisation of the syllabus and encouraging innovation have been discussed.

The pharmaceutical industry is growing along with the growth in population whereas the number of jobs in the traditional Engineering industry may be decreasing because of automation. It is also true that more and more students have started exploring other fields and not limiting their choice to Engineering alone.

Featured Image: Demand for Pharmacy Institutes


About Author

A bachelor’s degree in mathematics and master’s in social science, she is driven by ardent desire to work with this unique combination to create her own path instead of following the herd. Having served a stint as the college union chairperson, she is a strategist who is also passionate about nature conservation, art and loves solving Sudoku.

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