Monday, April 15, 2024

Senator grills PRC exec, laments computerized licensure exams 20 years late

Sen. Joel Villanueva expressed concerns on the “long overdue” status of the computer-based licensure examinations (CBLE) project of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), as the PRC Modernization Act of 2000 (Republic Act No. 8981) was enacted more than two decades ago.

Sen. Joel Villanueva
Photo from Senate

This was the Villanueva’s reaction after PRC commissioner Jose Cueto Jr.’s statement during the Senate hearing on the proposed 2023 budget of the agency, that no funding was allocated for setting up CBLEs in PRC regional offices for next year.

“Two decades have passed since the PRC Modernization Act was enacted and we have gone through two years of the pandemic. The PRC’s capacity to widely and efficiently conduct computer-based licensure examinations is very long overdue,” Villanueva said.

The senator said that CBLEs allow the PRC to make up for instances when licensure exams are canceled due to natural calamities and health emergencies such as the pandemic.

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, only 11 out of 85 licensure exams were conducted according to the PRC. The agency also said that they were also only able to conduct 62 out of 101 licensure exams for 2021.

Villanueva also noted that the Licensure Examinations for Teachers (LET) were canceled four times between 2020 and 2021.

The senator said that the livelihood of the examinees is held back by the exam cancellations, and that they are forced to wait for another six months for the next scheduled exam, vying for a slot against a new batch of examinees as well as repeat examinees.

Villanueva said that the CBLEs are an “obvious solution” in providing more access to board exams currently held in a limited number of testing sites in different parts of the country.

“Let’s not wait twenty more years. We needed a fully functional CBLE years ago. We are eager to hear from the PRC its modernization plans for transitioning to a digitalized system of conducting licensure exams,” he said.

Republic Act No. 8981 mandates the PRC to implement “the full computerization of all licensure examinations by the various professional regulatory boards”.

According to data from the PRC, the agency was able to conduct only one CBLE in 2021, and that they could conduct up to seven CBLEs within 2022.

Cueto also mentioned during the Senate hearing that the agency still doesn’t have the capacity to conduct CBLEs in most of PRC regional offices.

“Our government services are subject to the same demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as our professionals and workforce are. PRC has a lot of catching up to do and making up for lost time,” Villanueva said.


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