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R.P.’s choice as center of NCLEX test stalled

R.P.’s choice as center of NCLEX test stalled


Filipino nurses and their leaders lobbying vigorously for the approval of the Philippines as the next NCLEX test center came thisclose to realizing their dreams last week.

The U.S.-based National Council for State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) — which earlier hinted in an exclusive interview with the Filipino Reporter that it will announce on July 14 a decision that is “favorable” to the Philippines — agreed to postpone it pending the ongoing probe of the alleged nursing board exam leakage in Baguio City in northern Philippines.

In an exclusive interview with the Reporter on Monday, NCSBN president Donna Dorsey said the nine-member board was supposed to reach a decision during its Chicago meeting on July 12-14, but agreed to hold it following the alleged cheating in the 2006 nursing licensure exam held June 11-12 in Baguio.

“The board decided to monitor how the situation is going to be handled in the Philippines before we make a final decision,” Dorsey told the Reporter.

“We got everything we needed to make a decision, including the last information that we needed regarding the intellectual property law and its enforcement in the Philippines,” Dorsey said. “But we feel that with the cheating scandal, if we bring NCLEX to the Philippines, it would appear that we’re putting the exam at risk.” (NCLEX is a test required for any nurses who wish to work in the U.S.)

“If we see the Philippines is serious about preventing this from happening again, then that will be all good,” she added.

Dorsey, who visited the Philippines in March and later gave glowing reports about the country, particularly Makati City, said she has no idea when the final decision will be made.

However, she announced that her four-year term as president of NCSBN will end on the first week of August, during which a new president will be elected by the board in Salt Lake City.

She said the two contenders for the top post are both current board members who are by now familiar with the Philippines’ qualifications as a test center.

Philippine Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) chair Leonor Tripon-Lucero confirmed there were leakages of test questions and answers that circulated among clients of a review center during the exams in Baguio.

A PRC fact-finding body traced the leak to the test manuscripts of two members of the PRC board of nursing.

Ninety-one of the examinees complained to PRC about the cheating, and had asked for the suspension of both the test results and the two members of the nursing board.

Members of the Philippine Nurses Association in Baguio and the Association of Deans of Philippine Colleges of Nursing (ADPCN) also filed their complaints.

Submitted with the petition were affidavits of examinees who reportedly received a copy of an 18-page handwritten outline of detailed answers to two sets of exam questions on the second test day. They say the answers were “leaked” by examinees wearing jackets sporting the seal of Gapuz Review Center.

The R.A. Gapuz Review Center, which said it would fully cooperate with the probe, told reporters that the complainants may have mistakenly assumed that copies of old test questions their clients used for practice were answer sheets.

But other school heads demanded in a July 11 rally on Session Road that separate and independent probes be conducted to assure impartiality.

The rallyists also accused PNA national president George Cordero of telling the heads of the PNA-Cordillera and the Cordillera Association of Deans of Philippine Colleges of Nursing (ADPCN) to slow down in their exposé on the leakage scam as it will affect the Philippines’ chances of becoming an NCLEX testing center.

They claimed that Cordero called PNA Cordillera Gov. Ruth Thelma Tingda and Dr. Mary Grace Lacanaria, dean of the College of Nursing at St. Louis University, and urged them “to suppress the complaint” and to resort to “damage control” instead of carrying on with it.

Lacanaria, who is also president of the ADPCN, claimed Cordero offered her a position in his nursing school, but she turned it down.

The rallyists in a statement expressed “disappointment with the PRC for its failure to act on the complaint expeditiously,” as they also expressed fear that the PRC is doing a “whitewash.”

Rosalinda Baldoz, administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), said to avoid another leakage, the PRC should computerize the licensure examinations and install foolproof security measures.

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