By Pet Melliza/ The Beekeeper
It screws students.
The University of Iloilo (UI)-PHINMA bilked each of 699 senior nursing students P15,000 for the “comprehensive enhancement program” (CEP) and P1,000 for the “emergency nursing seminar” (ENS).
Both are useless.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) ruled against the “registration fee”, later renamed CEP. Students call that “comprehensive examination” or “compre”.
The CEP, capping with the controversial “compre”, ignited protests from students who sought the CHED which in turn declared it neither an approved curriculum nor requisite for graduation.
Three hundred twenty-five of the 699 senior nursing students failed the “compre” and missed the graduation rites. Seven “flunkers” however, graduated, “overlooked” by the administration. UI-PHINMA flunked one-half of the graduating nursing students by playing the trick of raising the passing rate from 75 to 77.
UI-PHINMA’s collection from the P15,000 CEP ran to P10,485,000. It earned P699,000 from the P1,000 from each for the “emergency nursing seminar” (ENS) saying students needed it for graduation.
UI-PHINMA, unqualified to conduct the ENS, commissioned the RGO Review Center, a private reviewer which was also as incapable. RGO in turn, tapped the Iloilo City Emergency Response (ICER), a rescue group of the Iloilo City government.
The students paid P1,000 directly to the coordinators from the UI-PHINMA nursing faculty but the receipts given them were issued by RGO. None of the participants received an ENS certificate.
Darwin Joemel Papa, chief of ICER, admitted his group did conduct the two-day seminar but denied having charged fees. The seminar was an introduction for paramedics “but not for the issuance of the BLS certificate”.
“Our mandate is to train people for free but we accept donations,” explains Papa. The RGO said it donated P180,000 worth of equipment to ICER which Papa admitted though he denied that its price could ran that big.
The BLS stands for “basic life support”, a one-week intensive course required by hospitals of nursing graduates intending to train in their institutions. “What we provided did not even qualify participants to be emergency responders”, explained Papa.
Only one in W. Visayas qualifies to issue BLS certificates, the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) which trained Papa and fellow ICER rescuers. Marivic Pastolero, a UI-PHINMA victim, says that the PNRC charges only P400 per student for the weeklong course.
Papa admits that even ICER has no authority to issue the BLS. The RGO is far worse; whatever certificate it may issue is worthless to qualify one for internship in hospitals.
UI-PHINMA refuses to heed the CHED which in Memorandum 13, series of 2006, and signed by its chair Carlito S. Puno, rules that the compre is not part of the approved curriculum and therefore, baseless in determining whether a student completed the course. UI-PHINMA’s compre is a “forced review” and therefore, prohibited.
CHED Regional Director Virginia P. Resurrection reiterates that in a letter dated March 24, 2011, warning schools from committing three prohibited acts:
1. Forcing graduates or graduating students to enroll in their own review centers and/or review centers of their preference;
2. Charging exorbitant rates; and
3. Withholding grades and other school records of students and graduates who cannot review in these review centers.
Resurrection writes UI-PHINMA:
“We hope that for humanitarian reason, the future of these graduating BS students of that University who complied (with) all the requirements prescribed in the Commission on Higher Education shall not be sacrificed on your good intention to produce quality nursing students.”
The Kape kag Isyu where I am a panelist hit UI-PHINMA for abusing its students. Host Peter Jimenea, former chief editor of the UI school paper, notes that “karma” is taking its toll on his alma mater, then called UI. Its summer enrolment dipped sharply.
Co-host Larry Locara, an opinion writer like Peter J notes: “I don’t want to see my alma mater sinking to ignominy; something has to be done to correct its mistake”. He finished agriculture there.
I finished law at UI in 1997 and am embarrassed at what my alma mater does. Had there been a “compre” I would have flunked. My grades were borderline, 3.0. Humility aside, I took the bar in 1999 and passed the hardest one in our history with only 16 percent succeeding.