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GMA creates task force to set up RP's own testing center for nurses

GMA creates task force to set up RP's own testing center for nurses
By Aurea Calica
The Philippine Star 08/03/2006

President Arroyo has created a task force to support the speedy establishment of a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) testing center in the Philippines so Filipino nursing graduates will no longer have to leave the country to take this qualifying examination.

Under Executive Order No. 550 dated July 31, Mrs. Arroyo allotted P10 million for the task force, which will be taken from the President’s Social Fund in support of projects, programs and activities related to its functions.

The NCLEX is a standardized examination which the United States’ National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) uses to determine whether or not a candidate is prepared for entry-level nursing practice in the US.

The NCSBN has authorized the conduct of the NCLEX in Hong Kong, London and Seoul, South Korea in 2004. It also established additional test centers in Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Mexico and Taiwan this year.

The NCSBN officers visited the Philippines in March to assess the feasibility of establishing an NCLEX testing center here.

In issuing the EO titled "creating a presidential task force to address concerns arising from the conduct" of NCLEX for nurses in the Philippines, Mrs. Arroyo cited the need for a testing center here.

The President said that the Philippines is the top country of origin of foreign-educated nurses taking the NCLEX, many of whom encounter financial hardship due to the cost of taking qualifying examinations overseas.

"Filipino nurses constitute 83 percent of foreign-educated nurses practicing in the US and contribute positively to the good image of the Philippines through their hard work, dedication and ethic of care," Mrs. Arroyo said.

"The conduct of NCLEX in the Philippines will open opportunities for qualified yet less fortunate Filipino nurses to take the NCLEX locally and the savings from not having to travel abroad to take the said exam may be devoted to test preparation," she added.

Mrs. Arroyo said the "government fully supports the establishment of an NCLEX test center in the Philippines and is prepared to provide assistance in terms of physical and examination security, as well as intellectual property protection through its agencies."

Under the EO, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, through its chairman, shall be the lead agency in the NCLEX task force that will be supported by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), Philippine National Police (PNP), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA).

The task force will prepare an overall program to consolidate existing government mechanisms and ensure the protection of intellectual property rights and the security of the physical facilities of NCLEX testing centers in the Philippines, the EO read.

It added that the task force will evaluate current procedures in resolving cases involving Filipino nurses and foreign nursing regulatory entities and recommend the proper measures to enhance existing grievance mechanisms.

The task force will also coordinate and liaise with the NCSBN on matters concerning the conduct of the NCLEX in the Philippines and investigate and take specific action on reports of fraud or any related acts that may compromise the integrity of the examinations.

The task force will also conduct consultations and information campaigns among nursing associations and other stakeholders in the field of nursing to assist in preserving the integrity of local and foreign nursing licensure examinations, as referred to by NCSBN.

It will also perform other functions that will ensure the smooth and successful conduct of NCLEX in the Philippines.

The Philippine Star

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