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Seminar aims to help improve pass rates for Black-African pre-registration pharmacists

A report has found the performance of Black-African pre-registration candidates to be ”conspicuously lower” than for other candidate categories.  

Black African university student studies in library

Source: Tetra Images / Alamy

It is the second consecutive year that Black-African pre-registration pharmacists have performed less well than other ethnic groups

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) will hold a seminar with the charity Equality Challenge Unit to help investigate why pre-registration pharmacists from a Black-African background have the lowest pass rate for registration assessment. 

Latest figures from the professional regulator reveal that 72% of students who classified themselves as Black-African passed the assessment exams in June 2014 which shows they performed “significantly less well” than other candidates. 

It is the second consecutive year that Black-African students have had worse performance than other groups and comes despite moves by the GPhC to urge those institutions with high-failure rates to develop strategies to support these students. 

The report by the board of assessors said: “As was the case in June 2013, the performance of Black-African candidates is conspicuously lower than for other candidate categories. These candidates are not just those who trained overseas but also those who studied on GB MPharm degrees.” 

The Equality Challenge Unit – a charity devoted to promoting diversity and equality in higher education institutions – will join the GPhC to investigate the reasons for the gap. 

The pass rates for other candidates this year — according to their declared ethnicity — were: 81% (Pakistani); 83% (Asian other); 86% Indian; 95% (White-British) and 96% (Chinese). 

There were also differences in the pass rates of students sitting the assessment for the first time in Scotland, England and Wales. The pass rate for first-timers in Scotland was 96% compared to 90% in Wales and 86% in England. 

The board assessors said: “We can only speculate why the pass rate is lower in England than it is in other two countries: it may be that there is just more natural variation in larger numbers and/or that the large independent community training sector is less well supported in England than it is in Scotland and Wales. 

“Moving forward, the GPhC’s annual surveys of pre-registration training may help explain the variability in pass rates.” 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066480

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