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Solon calls for “revamp” of policies on Professional Licensure exams; suggests alternative Licensure routes
NORTHERN Samar First District Rep. Paul Ruiz Daza, in a recent privilege speech, urged his fellow lawmakers and concerned departments, specifically the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC), to review its policies on licensure exams and procedures.
Daza revealed data from the PRC stating that the average passing rate in 36 professions from 2017 to 2022 is only 40.81%. He particularly lamented how Certified Public Accountants (CPA), fishery technologists, and agriculturists only have ‘staggeringly low’ 24.36%, 33.18% and 36.92% passing rates, respectively.
Accordingly, he clarified that students themselves are not to be blamed. “Ito pong mga board exams are anti-student, anti-poor, and arbitrary. Hindi po iyan kasalanan ng students,” he exclaimed. “Kasalanan po yan ng CHED, PRC, or maybe our society in general. And we need to find solutions.”
He further explained that there is a need to consider implementing alternative “licensing routes” wherein a professional may acquire a license without taking the exams. While it does not stop those who want, and have the privilege, to take such exams, it also provides accessibility to professionals who are hampered from taking exams due to personal, practical, or economic reasons.
The congressman also urged that his fellow legislators and the regulators recognize the need for such alternatives due to the current living situation of the average Filipino. “Pahirapan na nga ang pagtatapos sa elementary at high school, pati ang pagpasok sa college, aba’y pagdating pa ng board exam—kahit magkanda-baon-baon sa utang ang pamilya para lang may pang pang-review center—ay kailangan pang lumusot sa isa pang butas ng karayom ang ating mga graduates?” Daza asked. “Many of these graduates are from poor and disadvantaged groups and it is truly disheartening that they could not pursue their much-sought profession because they could not pass the board exams.”
One of the alternative licensure paths suggested is through an apprenticeship program. Aspiring professionals in a field may instead be allowed to practice their profession under a licensed professional for a significant period, and then be qualified to be licensed pending performance requirements and related training certificates.
Daza hopes that the issue merits attention. “To quote an esteemed American educator, there is indeed great injustice in telling our youth that education is the key, while the supposed educators continue to change the lock,” he said. “It is my sincere hope that this privilege speech would be but the first step in unlocking a more enlightened and inclusive path for our graduates and professionals,” he concluded.