Senate higher education committee chairman Joel Villanueva on Thursday said the board examinations must remain, despite the struggles faced by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) in holding certification tests amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure the quality of professionals produced by the country.
“Despite our disappointment with how the PRC has been failing our graduates with the way they’ve postponed and pushed back scheduled board exams since last year, it is very clear to us that the professional certification exams such as the various boards exam must remain,” Villanueva said.
He further pointed out that graduates cannot practice their profession if they are not board-certified.
“It is the final ‘quality control’ check before we allow graduates to practice a profession which depends on the lives of the people—like physicians—or safety of buildings, like engineers. If tech-voc graduates, like mechanics who fix cars, require TESDA certification, how much more for doctors who will repair hearts?” he asked.
Villanueva said he has filed Senate Resolution No. 661 to help the PRC identify ways of conducting board exams amid the ongoing pandemic.
He also noted that under the PRC Modernization Law of 2000, the commission must shift to full-computerization of all licensure examinations by 2003.
“Computerization will also help disaster-proof our professional licensure system, as typhoons and floods often wreak havoc on testing schedules and sites,” he said.
The lawmaker underscored that the failed implementation of the computerized board exams is now “haunting” the students who are set to graduate in 2020.
“We think there is a lot of room for improvement for the PRC, and to address the problems, we need to evaluate suggestions. If our professional regulatory laws need amending, we’re ready to buckle down to work,” Villanueva said.
The Senate higher education chairman also said that he understands the sentiment of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III that there should be urgent reforms in the conduct of licensure exams.
“But we cannot totally remove the certifying process because it will be unfair to our people, and is a betrayal of their trust, as they expect their government to test the knowledge of these professionals if they are indeed qualified to practice,” the lawmaker said.
“The repercussions of this proposal, if adopted, will also harm the OFW brand, as many of them were able to land jobs abroad because of a good reputation of having been properly certified,” he added.
Commission on Higher Education chairman Prospero De Vera III said scrapping licensure exams should be based on empirical data. — BM, GMA News
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