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What’s the value of a national registration examination?

Centralised exams like the SQE may never be loved, but they can maintain professional standards, explains Damian Day

28 March 2017

As a former lay member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s education and training board, I have watched the debate about proposals to introduce a standard, national assessment – the solicitors qualifying examination (SQE) – in the legal sector with interest. In relation to the SQE it is worth considering lessons learnt from other sectors – specifically the insight we have gained from using such an examination for pharmacists.

In 1841 Jacob Bell founded the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain as a professional body for ‘chemists and druggists’. A year later he founded a school of pharmacy and established a national examining system for membership. Since then, except for the period from 1970 to 1992, pharmacists have always had to pass a national examination to practise. To register as a pharmacist with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) today...

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