Press Release
November 18, 2008

Pia to CHED: 'Phase out mediocre nursing schools'

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today asked the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) to immediately phase out mediocre nursing schools, particularly those that have fared poorly or have registered zero passing rates in the annual nursing licensure examinations administered by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

The lady senator said CHEd should also tighten its system of monitoring underperforming nursing schools in light of reports that the average passing rate in the nursing board exams has declined several notches over the last ten years.

"When a school with hundreds or thousands of graduates fails to produce a single nurse in any given year, then its quality of teaching should already be suspect. I don't understand why CHEd continues to allow the operation of nursing schools that have consistently failed to produce competent graduates for years."

"CHEd's failure to address this situation gives the impression that it is protecting these institutions at the expense of pulling down the quality of nursing education in the country, which is in direct defiance of the agency's own mandate," she stressed.

"It's also a great disservice to parents and students who fall prey to these schools who are able to lure in enrollees every school year by advertising false hopes of assured employment after graduation or bright opportunities as a nurse abroad."

Cayetano said the Commission of Audit (COA), in its report last year, noted that CHEd never closed a single nursing school despite the poor passing rates of several schools in the nursing board exams in the last ten years.

Citing the COA report, she said that from 2001 to 2005, only 111 of 263 nursing schools nationwide managed to have 50 percent of their graduates pass the licensure examinations. Thirty five of these 111 nursing schools are in Metro Manila, she added.

Cayetano is actively involved in coordinating efforts with former health secretary Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan to upgrade the nursing profession and enhance the quality of nursing education in the country.

Last October 28 in a visit to New York, Cayetano met with the Philippine Nurses Association of America including members from New York and New Jersey to discuss cooperation in the promotion of ethical recruitment practices to address recurring problems in the recruitment of Filipino nurses and to improve their employment conditions in the United States.

Last October 22, Cayetano together with Galvez-Tan, initiated a forum in the Senate with the deans of the country's top nursing schools to establish a 'Nursing Circle of Excellence' which would seek to ensure the ethical recruitment of Filipino nurses.

The forum discussed, among others, the prospect of forging mutually beneficial bilateral agreements with host countries hiring Filipino nurses. These agreements would not only seek to facilitate equal opportunities for our medical professionals but also facilitate assistance from the host country to the local medical profession and the public health system.

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