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Digging Deeper into the Leakage


Digging Deeper into the Leakage

Is it so difficult to see that the scandalous extent and circumstances of the recent board exam leakage is in direct proportion to the degree of commercialization of nursing education as exemplified by the proliferation of substandard nursing schools churning out unqualified, if not incompetent, graduates? Shall we be content with merely calling for better regulation by the PRC and by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd)?

Business World
Posted by Bulatlat

As a medical student learns early on, signs and symptoms are mere indicators of an underlying illness; real cure comes from diagnosing and treating the disease, not just mitigating its manifestations. The concept is not difficult for even the layman to understand since it is grounded on the truism that problem solving requires digging deep at the root causes if a genuine solution is to be found.

Why then the seeming inability, or perhaps unwillingness, of government to see beyond the current scandal of the nursing board exam leakage? Is this just another case of unscrupulous government officials colluding with profiteering owners of nursing schools and review centers to allow unqualified examinees to cheat their way to their licenses? Or is there something more here than meets the eye?

The magnitude of the problem is laid bare by the following: the filing of charges against two examiners from the Board of Nursing (BoN) of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC); the forced resignation of the president and vice president of the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) implicated in the leakage and its cover-up; and the alleged involvement of scores of nursing schools and review centers in disseminating the leaked exam questions to their students. There are worrisome signs that cheating has become systematized and a criminal syndicate in cahoots with government officials is on the loose.

Worse, the PRC, relying on the BoN findings instead of creating an independent investigative body, initially denied any possibility of a leakage with the assertion that the examination system “has been so streamlined that leakages are now a thing of the past.”

When it could no longer sweep the problem under the rug it admitted the leakage and pinpointed responsibility to just two of its examiners.

Now the PRC appears to have taken the unprincipled tack of minimizing the impact of the leakage on the integrity of the examinations. The PRC cited some statistical manipulations that they claim “solved” the problem and hastily administered the nursing oath to those they certified to have passed (until a court restraining order stopped the oath taking). They stood pat on the position that there was no need for a retake of the examinations by any of the examinees, including those who reviewed with the R.A.Gapuz Review Center (RAGRC), a center that witnesses claim distributed answers to exam questions the night before the June 11 board examinations. Not surprisingly, RAGRC now boasts of having bagged the 3rd to 10th place in the exams.

From news reports, the PRC even brought in supposedly well-placed labor recruiters who assured the examinees that they would still be eligible for placement in US hospitals despite the controversy surrounding their licensure exams. It appeared to be a calculated move to counter reports that local as well as foreign hospitals had indicated they would refuse to hire nurses from Batch 2006.

Meanwhile Malacañang has chosen to uphold the PRC position hook, line and sinker. While vowing to go after those responsible for the leakage, it immediately exonerated the PRC itself of any responsibility and peremptorily declared that the nursing leakage was more of an exception rather than the rule. Mrs. Arroyo even praised PRC chair Leonor Rosero, her personal dentist whose husband is a close friend and fellow Rotarian of the first gentleman, for doing a great job. She also took the “no retake” position popular with the examinees in what seemed to be a classic Arroyo trick of pandering to the crowd when no major personal or political stakes are involved.

There is no indication that the Arroyo administration sees the current brouhaha as a reason, or even an occasion, to seriously study what ails the nursing sector. Consider that nurses (as well as doctors-turned-nurses) continue to be one of our top exports as a labor-exporting country. The alarm has been raised by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the Philippines faces the prospect of a major crisis in its health care system with the exodus of health personnel for more lucrative jobs abroad.

Is it so difficult to see that the scandalous extent and circumstances of the recent board exam leakage is in direct proportion to the degree of commercialization of nursing education as exemplified by the proliferation of substandard nursing schools churning out unqualified, if not incompetent, graduates? Shall we be content with merely calling for better regulation by the PRC and by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd)?

Shall we not examine what fuels this soaring demand for a nursing diploma and license to practice the nursing profession that provides fertile ground for all sorts of corrupt scams victimizing students, their parents and future patients at that?

Certainly it is not a sudden surge of humanitarianism, of people wanting to care for the sick and infirm. On purely economic terms, the demand is fed by the desire to go abroad and earn a decent income that can provide a comfortable life and a secure future for one’s family.

Such a modest, middle-class dream is no longer possible for the vast majority in the Philippine setting. What everybody seems to know is that the passport out of the Philippine Rut into the American Dream is indeed that nursing license.

Rather than address the endemic problem of unemployment and underemployment, successive governments from Marcos to the present have pursued a short-sighted policy of exporting labor. From a stop-gap measure, the export of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) has evolved to become the major dollar-earner and life-saver of a chronically floundering economy with roughly eight million OFWs, a tenth of the population, remitting US $10 billion last year.

Thus the demand for nurses in the U.S. and UK has become the main driving force shaping the development of nursing education and the profession today. Not the needs and requirements of a highly underserved people in the throes of hunger, malnutrition and preventable diseases.

When government cannot see beyond dollar remittances and will do anything and everything to keep them coming, it will turn a blind eye to the deepening crisis of the Philippine health care system; it will paper over the festering problems in nursing education and the nursing profession that the recent leakage scandal has so glaringly exposed.

With provincial and even major urban hospitals scrambling to stay open despite the steady loss of its doctors and nurses, the future is bleak while government policies remaining unchanged. Needless to say, the long and short of it is that the majority of our people end up, once more, on the losing end. Business World / Posted by Bulatlat

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*Published in Business World

Nasaan na yung final report ng NBI sa nursing scandal, sabi within the week that ended last Friday?

Hindi pa ba tapos plantsahin o doktorin ang mga ebidensiya laban sa mga review centers, 22 deans who attended the power point presentation sa--nung una, SM Cinema, pero ngayon, SM Megamall na according to Dante Ang--at mga examinees?


What you have written may be all true, but always remember that there are two sides of the coin.

Maybe you should now evaluate the hidden motives behind the call for a retake of various groups or the "PROUD" ones.

Or do you really buy all the bullshit they have been spreading around just to overpower the decision of the PRC & eventualy be independent of the PRC's control (power-grabbing)?

I believe (being a Filipino living in the Philippines)that we have a scrupulous goverment. That is a fact! No questions about it!

But the final decision of the PRC, whatever their faults maybe, whether your a nobleman, a hypocrite, an asian, a western man, a monk, or even an animal is all simple & universal that applies to all!

No one can be judged & convicted beyond reasonable doubt!

For "JUSTICE is above all", & that is universal.

But remember also that "Money" can buy Justice and even the most beautifull women"

Dear Ms. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo:

The fallacy in your article is that you equate cleansing of the PRC exam system to retake, or that retake is an integral part of the cleansing process.

You can do a retake but if you do not do anything else, you will have a retake result that is similarly tainted by cheating--but this time smartly hidden--and the doubt against the retake passers will still be there!

Do a cleansing process but address retake separately. You can no longer help it, it has been tainted by leakage due to the acts of the elders of the profession, not of examinees in the first place--so the question to ask is: What can we do under the circumstances? Is retake the one and only one solution? Only those who are totally bereft of imagination, creativeness, and understanding of elementary justice--the INCOMPETENT and the IGNORANT?--would say so, because, unlike retake that assumes something definitely not true, there is an alternative solution that does not go against reality. RETAKE is a sweeping conclusion that 100% of the passers are incompetent, which is outright WRONG. Tell that to the capable graduates of UP, UE, UST, and the honor graduates of other schools! Tell that to the passers in Mindanao, who are definitely far from the scene of the crime!

The solution, if it can be done--and it can be done under the circumstances because 390 questions out of 500 were not tainted by leakage--is to eliminate the effect of leakage in the exam--which would produce nurses who passed the exam without the benefit of leakage, meaning fair and square. That was what PRC and BON did, something that is not outlandish because the Supreme Court did something far worse in the 2003 scandal-rocked bar exam. It totally eliminated Mercantile Law in the computation of grades instead of requiring a retake--and nobody accused the 2003 bar exam passers as incompetent and dishonorable.

Of course, the BUREAUCRATIC, those with CLERK MENTALITY, will stick to routine and insist on the 500-question exam. But they are dealing with the nursing profession and here, unlike in other professions, there is NCLEX of only 75 to 265 questions, taken in a few hours to one day, and it tests the competence of all foreign nurses (from Asia to Canada, Cuba, etc.) who will serve roughly 300 MILLION American and other foreign patients in higher paying hospitals in the United States! NCLEX has number of exam questions and duration of exam just roughly half of PRC's 500-question exam taken in two days! Compared to NCLEX, it would be nitpicking, it would be hairsplitting, it would be the height of haughtiness, to insist that the remaining 390 questions in the 2006 exam were not sufficient to give the 17,000 young passers the same BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT that our government gives to suspected hardened CRIMINALS, PLUNDERERS OF THE NATION, ELECTION CHEATERS, CORRUPT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, etc.

From both the legal and technical standpoints, a RETAKE is an unjust imposition to the 2006 passers, a case of punishing a few GUILTY CULPRITS together with thousands of INNOCENT VICTIMS--a direct contravention and wanton perversion of the democratic principle enshrined in our justice system: BETTER THE GULTY ESCAPE THAN THE INNOCENT PUNISH, or, in other words, GIVE THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT TO THE ACCUSED.

Nalalaman nyo ba na iisa lang ang kahahantungan ng bagay na ito????

1. Lilipas rin ang ang issue na to
2. Wala rin makikinabang dito sa issue na to.
3. Nalulugi lang tayo dahil sa bagay na ito.
4. Sayang lang ang mga oras na iniuukol tungkol sa bagay na ito.
5. Pride lang ang pinaglalabanan dito.
6. Hindi totoo ang Stigma kasi moderno na ang panahon at meron silang modernong paraan para sa selection ng mahusay na Nurse or employee.
7. Marami na nga na mga babae ang nasira ang puri pero naka-recover, how much ang issue na ito.
8. Darating ang araw na sa paglipas ng issue na ito na ang mga nakapasa at hindi nakapasa ay magsasama-sama rin sa trabaho kung saan man sila magkikita-kita lalo na kapag pumasa na ang hindi nakapasa at nakapagtrabaho na.
9. Nursing profession rin ang nasira dito at, nakapa at hindi nakapasa pati na iyong mga hindi sangkot basta Nursing.
10. Ang dignity, honor at kung ano ano pa ay hindi naman hinahanap at tinatanong ng pasyente sa hospital.
11. Ang stigma ay mga make-believe lang at guni-guni lang as if we are trying to please na perceived emotion of somebody we do not know or migth be happening...
12. Suma Total nagsayang lang tayo ng panahon at pera at maraming pagkakataon ang nakalipas...

Ito ay isa lang pangkaraniwang issue na tulad rin ng mga lumipas na panahon...Meron ba tayong Nakuhang pakinabang??? yan ang tanong

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