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Nursing exam questions leaked prior to printing -PRC exec

Nursing exam questions leaked prior to printing -PRC exec

Article posted September 20, 2006, 5:32 pm

Some review centers and examinees got hold of photocopies of handwritten questions that came up in the nursing licensure examinations even before the questionnaires were printed, commissioner Renato Valdecantos of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Valdecantos told the Senate civil service committee that the initial investigation showed that 2,800 photocopies of questions crafted by Board of Nursing examiners Anisia Dionisio (Test 5) and Virginia Madeja (Test 3) were distributed to various review centers, particularly in Baguio City.

Valdecantos said the photocopied manuscripts proved that the leak of the test questions took place even before the PRC could officially encode and print out the test questions.

"You see, the photocopies were of the same sequence as the original manuscripts, they also contained notes and names made by the two board examiners. If the questions were 'leaked' after they were printed by the PRC, then they would not have been of the same sequence," he said.

The questionnaires were printed on June 9.

The PRC commissioner testified that "concerned parties" furnished the PRC with the photocopied manuscripts of Dionisio and Madeja.

"Almost all of the questions in the original manuscripts were included in the copies given to us. When we confronted Madeja and Dionisio with the photocopies, they acknowledged that they were indeed copies of what they did," he said.

The PRC commissioner said Dionisio told him that she "mysteriously" lost her manuscript while Madeja surrendered her "original" manuscript to the PRC.

Valdecantos told GMANews.TV after the hearing that out of 500 questions each made by Madeja and Dionisio, only 100 were included in the final examination.

"So you see...the manuscripts included all of the 500 questions. That means that the leakage happened even before Medeja and Dionisio turned over the questions that they prepared to us," he said in an interview.

"It would be difficult to sneak out copies of the printed questions from the PRC and have these distributed to review centers days or weeks before the actual date of examination because the questionnaires are only prepared one or two days before the examinations," he added.

The nursing examinations given last June 11-12 drew controversy after a number of examinees came out to say that questions in two of five sections in the tests were leaked by some review centers. Some 17,000 passed out of more than 40,000 examinees.

Valdecantos, along with PRC chair Leonor Tripon-Rosero, PRC commissioner Avelina dela Rea and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) anti-fraud division chief Elfren Meneses, avoided being cited in contempt by the committee and ordered arrested when they showed up in the hearing.

The four were told to show cause why they should not be cited in contempt for snubbing earlier hearings despite the issuance of summonses.

Resigned Philippine Nursing Association (PNA) head George Cordero, who was also issued a subpoena, was a no-show.

He furnished the Senate a medical certificate stating that he was medically unfit to testify "due to the recurrence of my previous surgical condition, a fistula which has been profusely bleeding."

Cordero is confined at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City.

Valdecantos said that the PRC forwarded his group's initial findings to the NBI for further investigation.

The NBI has filed graft charges against Madeja and Dionisio before the Office of the Ombudsman after reportedly securing evidence that they were involved in the leak.

Also during the hearing, Senator Richard Gordon called on PRC officials to "resign" for their failure to protect the integrity of the nursing board licensure examinations.

He likewise called for the closure of all review centers and proposed that reviews for licensure examinations be included in the school curriculum.

Senator Rodolfo Biazon, chairman of the Senate civil service committee, said his panel would come up with mechanisms on how to regulate operations of review centers in the light of Malacanang's Executive Order 566 which placed all review centers under the regulation of the Commission on Higher Education. -GMANews.TV

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