No to 5-year Nursing

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Francis Escudero on Saturday opposed the plan by the Commission on Higher Education to extend the nursing education from four years to five years.

“I am against adding another year for nursing, or for any other course,” the senator said in a statement e-mailed to media outfits.

“Our nurses are being praised all over the world. Why in the world does CHED want to change what is not broken?” he asked.

Escudero said CHED should instead weed out diploma mills that have proliferated due to the increase in the number of nursing students. He also called for stricter supervision of nursing review centers.

Echoing the call of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations against the CHED plan, Escudero said making nursing a five-year course would mean an additional financial burden to parents and students.

“Parents set aside a budget for the education of their children. Based on current figures each nursing student needs about P100,000 annually for matriculation plus textbooks, excluding review courses. Adding another year to the course makes it more expensive,” the senator pointed out.

At the same time, Escudero also called for a moratorium on increases in tuition, miscellaneous, and other fees, noting that most nursing colleges also have compulsory in-house review courses that are paid for separately by students.

Meanwhile, based on a report done by CHED and the Professional Regulatory Commission, only 12 out of the top 175 nursing schools in the country had a passing rate of 90 percent or higher during the period 2000-2004.

In the 1970s and the 1980s, the passing average for the Nursing Licensure Exam was 80 to 90 percent. But in 2008, only 44.51 percent, or 39,455 out of 88,649 examinees, passed.

“The nursing profession in the Philippines has yet to recover from the 2006 leakage case. This is a symptom of the long-standing deterioration of our nursing education. The CHED must not focus on facilitating the commercialization of the profession and instead make it less difficult for those wanting to take it up,” Escudero said.

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