Introduction: Science is constantly promoting and so must educational content to satisfy students’ academic needs. Material and curriculum development are not apart from educational needs analysis. This qualitative study, intended to evaluate the educational demands of pharmacy students who had passed English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and already had an overview of the course. Pharmacy lecturers’ ideas regarding ESP were also collected and analyzed for potential professional changes in the educational content.
Methods: In this sense, ۶۵ junior pharmacy students and all the ۱۱ pharmacy lecturers at Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences participated in this study during the academic year ۲۰۲۰-۲۰۲۱. The students were selected through purposive sampling while the lecturers through consensus sampling. According to previous studies on educational needs analysis of ESP and verbal communication with students, an interview protocol was written with four questions. At the end, an open-ended question was raised on the participants’ overview and demands of Pharmacy ESP. The data were collected through structured interviews with the lecturers and students and the results were reported in descriptive statistics.
Findings: The first question asked the participants about the necessitated skills of language learning, namely listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The lecturers unanimously believed that reading comprehension is the most significant skill. Next, they mentioned writing, speaking, and listening, respectively. The lecturers’ justification was that students need to read and comprehend English texts and articles to submit their thesis, carry out research projects and keep their knowledge up-to-date. They also need writing skills for the above-mentioned tasks along with reporting their findings. However, speaking skill is merely required for future professional communication with international pharmaceutical companies and industries .
Conversely, pharmacy students mentioned the need for speaking skill almost as much as reading skill which came first. It is inferred from their answers that they prefer to be taught reading, speaking, writing, and listening, respectively. They acknowledge the lecturers’ view about the utility of reading skill. Yet, they express their enthusiasm for learning to communicate verbally in contexts such as scientific conferences. They believe that their inability in speaking English is due to insufficiencies in previous courses, such as prerequisite
and general English. Regarding writing skill, they prefer to learn it in educational workshops rather than in ESP classes. Pharmacy students also express their need to improve listening skill to take advantage of learning from educational videos and audio files.
As for the second question which focused on the necessary educational contents of ESP, lecturers signified the learning demand of pharmacy terminology, academic writing skills, abbreviations used in prescriptions, and medical terminology, respectively. They believe that all of these contents are critical for submitting the thesis, writing articles, presenting the findings in conferences, and participating in specialty courses. Pharmacy students had exactly the same view about the educational contents’ order of significance and their utility .
The third question asked whether English in Pharmacy is better to be taught by a TEFL expert, a pharmacist, or jointly. Both, pharmacy lecturers and students assume that the course must be presented jointly by TEFL specialists and pharmacists since language teachers do not master pharmacy terminology while pharmacists lack knowledge of English language teaching .
The last question mentioned the current issue that English in pharmacy has been eliminated from the list of courses under evaluation in the comprehensive test. All the lecturers and students opposed to this decision since it decreases students’ extrovert motivation, degrades the course in the view of students, and most importantly leads to forgetting the relevant terminology, expressions, and concepts .
Conclusion: Overall, it was concluded that both language instructors and pharmacists should take immediate action to promote Pharmacy ESP. Reading comprehension is the most significant skill for this course. It promotes students’ vigilance about their specialty’s current issues. Writing skill could be taught in educational workshops due to insufficient time in ESP classes. Since students require to enhance their speaking ability, prerequisite and general English syllabi should be enriched with this skill, or extracurricular courses be devoted to develop students’ competency. Meanwhile, listening skill is improved as well .
Suggestions: Educational authorities are better reconsidering their decision regarding the elimination of English in Pharmacy from the comprehensive test. This choice has spoiled students’ learning motivation, overview of the course, and constant academic vigilance .
Furthermore, educational content evaluation seems critical for this course. Hence, it is suggested that future studies evaluate the present book and compile a new one under the supervision of language specialists and pharmacists, based on pharmacy students’ educational needs.