In September 2010, Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan issued CMO No. 32 series of 2010 which imposed a moratorium on the opening of 5 undergraduate ‘oversubscribed’ programs effective school year 2011-2012.
The programs include business administration, teacher education, information technology, hotel and restaurant management, and nursing. These programs have been producing too much graduates that the labor force could not anymore absorb.
The proliferation of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) offering the said programs which, when unabated, could contribute to the deterioration of quality graduates; the weakening state of the quality of Business Administration and Teacher Education graduates; the poor performance in licensure examinations by nursing and teacher education graduates; and the mismatch currently being experienced by business administration, hotel and restaurant management and information technology graduates led to the imposition of the said moratorium.
All private and government-run (SUCs) schools are covered by the said moratorium. CHEd Executive Director Julito Vitriolo told Rappler (02/08/13) that the moratorium, in part, is one way for the Commission to promote ‘undersubscribed’ courses.
The Commission also labelled Priority Disciplines. Most of which are less chosen by students and hence, they are called ‘undersubscribed’ programs. These programs are the following:
· Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, and Veterinary Medicine
· Architectural and Town Planning
· Education and Teacher Training
· Engineering and Technology
· Information Technology
· Medical and Allied Professions
· Natural Science
Mushrooming of Nursing Schools
From 2001 to 2007, there was a 230% increase in the number of nursing schools in the country. Most of which are poor in performance based on the Nursing Licensure Examination (NLE) issued by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
Based from the results, only 16, 908 passed the December 2012 NLE out of 49, 066 examinees. Many of them were repeaters.
The mushrooming of nursing schools in the country was an upshot of the great demand for nurses abroad in the past decade. However, overseas employment, particularly in the United States, has slowed down.
“There are still countries that hire foreign nurses like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but they require a certification that you have working experience of at least four years,” Leah Paquiz, former president of the Philippine Nurses Association, told The Philippine Star (Feb. 01, 2013).
Paquiz also said that the country has a surplus of nurses which cannot be accommodated by the country’s very few local private and government hospitals or clinics.
Ang Nars said that at present, there are about 400,000 nurses that are either unemployed or underemployed.
The problem has been further accentuated by the NLE leakage in 2006.
Recently, Vitriolo announced on national television the closure of 83 nursing programs of schools who failed to keep up with the standards set by CHEd.
A school is considered ‘substandard’ and notified for closure of its nursing program if it has a passing rate below 30% in the past three years and/or it lacks the required faculty, facilities, training hospital and laboratories.
These schools have been advised by the Commission to voluntarily ‘phase out’ their nursing programs Catherine Castañeda, Director of CHEd National Capital Region (NCR), told Manila Bulletin (March 23, 2013).
According to CHEd, 7 schools in NCR have already voluntarily “phased out” their nursing programs.
The Commission did not release the list of the schools that were advised to close their nursing programs. Vitriolo emphasized that only the nursing program will be closed and not the entire school. # –Reiner Lorenzo Tamayo (with reports from Rappler, Manila Bulletin and The Philippine Star)
NOTE: This is an article submitted to the Vital Signs for publication earlier this year.