With a low passing rate in 36 professions, a senior deputy minority leader urged Congress and concerned departments, specifically the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), to review its policies on licensure exams and procedures.
In a recent privilege speech, Senior Deputy Minority Leader Paul Daza of Northern Samar called for a “revamp” of policies on professional licensure.
Daza 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,” he said.
Daza revealed data from PRC showing that the average passing rate in 36 professions from 2017 to 2022 is only 40.81 percent.
He particularly lamented how Certified Public Accountants (CPA), fishery technologists, and agriculturists only have “staggeringly low” 24.36 percent, 33.18 percent and 36.92 percent passing rates, respectively.
Accordingly, he clarified that students themselves are not to be blamed.
“These board exams are anti-student, anti-poor, and arbitrary. That’s not the fault of the students,” Daza said.
“That’s the fault of CHED (Commission of Higher Education), PRC, or maybe our society in general. And we need to find solutions,” he added.
The lawmaker also urged his fellow legislators and regulators to recognize the need for such alternatives due to the current living situation of the average Filipino.
“Graduating from elementary and high school is already difficult, as well as entering college—plus this the board exam comes—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,” he added.
One of the alternative licensure paths the lawmaker 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 said.
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,” Daza added.