CHED against cap on nursing students

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Commission on Higher Education yesterday rejected the proposal of a cap on the number of college students taking up nursing to curb the oversupply of nurses in the country.

CHED chair, Dr. Manny Angeles, said limiting the number of students who want to take up nursing is a violation of the right to choose the course they would want to take.

“We cannot say that we have to establish a ceiling. You will be curtailing the freedom of the students,” Angeles said in response to the proposal of Labor Undersecretary Carmelito Pineda.

Pineda made the proposal after noting that the moratorium in the setting up of new nursing schools imposed in 2004 did not help since the number of nursing schools has reached a total of 450 institutions as of last year.

Pineda likewise noted that government data showed that the number of nursing students also went up sharply from 30,000 in year 2000 to 450,000 in 2007.

The Professional Regulation Commission reported that about 400,000 licensed Filipino nurses have not been hired despite the high demand for health workers abroad.

Angeles said that CHED cannot prevent a nursing school from accepting students except when it violates the requirements and standards such as the lack of proper facilities needed, including hospital linkages and laboratories.

“I don’t think we can interfere with the limitation unless they don’t have enough facilities,” he added.

He added that if he was asked as to how to resolve the problem of a ballooning number of jobless nursing graduates, he would ask schools for “strict admission requirements.”

“Only those who truly qualify should be admitted to the nursing education,” he added.

Angeles, however, said that he will still discuss the proposals during a CHED en banc meeting.

“There will be like a self imposed limitation by schools because if the schools and the laboratories and facilities are good for 100 students then they would just admit 100 students, not 1000. The top schools are doing that,” he said.

The local recruitment industry, however, claimed that they are having difficulty filling up the job orders from various countries due to lack of qualified Filipino nurses.

Pineda said the government is negotiating with foreign countries to forge bilateral labor agreements with the Philippines, which would require the host countries to provide appropriate training for Filipino nurses they intend to hire.