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FOUR Cebu schools, including two of the largest universities, were ordered to close their nursing programs after their graduates allegedly failed to beat the national passing rate in the board exams. They are among 147 public and private schools the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) ordered to close their nursing courses, the Manila Standard Today recently reported.

The closure order was issued after graduates performed below the national passing percentage rate of 46.14 percent in the nursing board exams of the past five years.
But lawyer Joseph Baduel, University of the Visayas (UV) vice president for external affairs, said he will call Ched Chairman Emmanuel Angeles to ask why UV is still in the list.

Baduel said the school administration will also ask Ched to issue a correction. UV's nursing college, he said, has been getting a high passing percentage in the board exams for the last two years. It got a passing percentage of 70.10 in the June 2008 nursing board exams, he said. According to the university's website, 61 percent of their nursing graduates passed the June 2009 board exams. The national passing percentage then was only 42 percent.

Apart from UV, Southwestern University (SWU), Benedicto College in Mandaue City and the Saint Paul College Foundation were included in the Ched list. According to the Standard's report, Chairman Angeles allowed the publication of the list to compel the schools to perform better.

"With this move, we are helping the parents and students to carefully choose the nursing schools they want to go to," said Angeles.

Sun.Star Cebu sought for comment Dr. Lucris Tan Jr., dean of the College of Nursing in SWU, but his secretary said the dean declined to comment. As of December 2005, SWU had the biggest nursing student population in Cebu, at 4,894. That year, 13 of 15 nursing schools in Cebu reported an increase in their enrolment.

Baduel of UV said they received a letter from Angeles informing them of Ched's recommendation for the school to close its nursing program. But UV sent Ched a letter last March 20, citing its nursing college's recent passing rates, and requested the commission to check the records of the Professional Regulation Commission to verify the school's performance.