Congress approved bill protecting rights of students
By Jason de Asis
MANILA, April 13, 2011-A measure protecting the right of students to enroll in review centers of their choice in preparation for the licensure examinations was approved on third and final reading in the House of Representatives led by Bayan Muna Party-List Representative Teodoro Casiño, who authored the House Bill 3546 otherwise known as the Protection of Students' Rights to Enroll in Review Centers Act said that it seeks to eliminate the practice of some schools of compelling their graduates to enroll in a particular review center and withholding their scholastic documents if they refuse to do so.
Casiño said that the 2006 controversial nursing board exam brought to the fore not only the problem of cheating conducted by some nursing review centers but other irregularities as well.
He added that the bill aims to protect the rights of students to choose their own review centers where all schools which compel its students to take board review classes or study in a particular review center will be penalized and their permit to operate revoked.
Another author of the bill is 3rd District, Negros Oriental Rep. Pryde Henry Teves, who said that there are cases where universities and colleges are performing things that are entirely opposite to their ideal purpose such as taking full advantage of their authority and conduct their undertaking like a business rather than as a profession.
Teves said that this kind of action should be prevented in order to bail out schools from being prone to corruptions and dirty transactions. “The school shall be a location for knowledge and wisdom development and must be deprived from being an establishment of dishonesty and cheating,” Teves said, saying that through the bill, the right of the students to enjoy the gift of democracy by way of choosing their own review class will be ensured.
“It covers all public and private higher educational institutions (HEIs), including local colleges and universities offering courses that require professional licensure examinations,’’ he said.
The bill provides a penalty of six years imprisonment and a fine of P750,000 for violations of unlawful acts such as compelling students enrolled in courses requiring professional examinations to take review classes, which are not part of the curriculum, in a review center of the HEI's choice and making such review classes a prerequisite for graduation or completion of the course.
The bill also prohibits educational institutions from forcing students to enroll in a review center of the school choice and to pay the corresponding fees that include transportation as well as board and lodging and the withholding of the transcript of scholastic records, diploma, certification or any essential document of the student to be used in support of the application for the professional licensure examinations so as to compel students to attend in a review center of the HEI's choice.
Co-authors of the measure are Representatives Juan Edgardo Angara (Lone District, Aurora), Neri Javier Colmenares (Party-list, Bayan Muna), Raymond Palatino (Party-list, Kabataan), Antonio Tinio (Party-list, Act Teachers), Rafael Mariano (Party-list, ANAKPAWIS), Luzviminda C. Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus (Party-list, Gabriela). (Jason de Asis)
In : SENATE BEAT