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MANILA, JUNE 14, 2010 (STAR) By Mayen Jaymalin – More and more Filipino nurses are now opting to work in the United Kingdom than in the United States, according to local recruiters.

Citing data from the UK Borders and Immigration Agency, recruitment leaders yesterday said that the number of Filipino nurses deployed to UK in the past three years has already surpassed those deployed to the US in the same period.

From 2007 to 2009, an annual average of 7,000 Filipino nurses flew to UK under a study and work program that allowed them to study and work there at the same time.

Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), on the other hand, showed that less than 300 registered Filipino nurses went to the US to work during the three-year period.

Recruiters noted that Filipino nurses aspiring to work in the United States have to wait five to seven years for H 1-B working visas and between two to three years for EB 3 (immigrant visas) before they can enter the US.

Those hoping to study and work in UK can leave the country within six months.

Recruitment leaders further noted that the recent expansion of the UK study programs may give wider opportunities to thousands more Filipinos, including non-healthcare workers.

The imposition of new rules for Tier 4 student visa applications early this year may also favor Filipino nurses who want to be registered nurses and become permanent residents there.

Just a ‘temporary slack’

But the prevailing low demand for nurses abroad, especially in the US, is just temporary, according to Arellano University chairman Francisco P.V. Cayco.

Cayco said after the “temporary slack” in global demand for nurses, there could be a sudden surge especially once the effects of the enactment of the Health Care Reform Bill under the administration of US President Barrack Obama, takes root.

In an interview with The STAR earlier this week, Cayco said that with the potential rise in demand for nurses, those struggling with their nursing education would be in the best position to take advantage.

Cayco emphasized that the health care reforms being implemented by the Obama administration made health and medical care more affordable among Americans, which would subsequently result to a higher demand in nurses and doctors in US hospitals.

He said this turnaround was the reason why Arellano University is still giving their nursing school its deserved importance in their overall effort to further improve the quality of education in all their college programs.

“The temporary slack is not a reason to give our nursing education programs less importance,” Cayco said, pointing out that the weak demand for nurses in the US was not necessarily the case in other countries such as in the UK and Australia.

He boasted that just last month, the Edith Cowan University in Western Australia had forged agreement with Arellano University where their Filipino nursing students who have completed two years of studies can enroll directly with their Australian counterpart, which would put them in a position to become registered nurses in Australia immediately after finishing the nursing program.

Cayco said that despite its open enrolment policy, the quality of education in the College of Nursing of Arellano University Manila has remained high.

The school landed in the ranks of Metro Manila’s top nursing schools with a high student population whose graduates performed impressively in the 2009 nursing licensure examinations of the Professional Regulation Commission for 2009.

Cayco expressed overwhelming pride over the impressive performance of their graduates in last year’s round of PRC examinations, saying it will serve to inspire them in their bid to provide an affordable, but high quality nursing education to poor but deserving Filipinos wanting to become nurses whether here or abroad.

He noted that the high passing percentage rate of their nursing school’s graduates was a difficult feat considering that they have an “open” admission policy that does not bar high school students from public high schools who tend to have low academic competencies.

Cayco added that Arellano University-Manila’s College of Nursing has the lowest tuition rate among the big Metro Manila nursing schools that topped the 2009 PRC examinations.

“A lot of the big schools they have entrance exams. So they only admit those who already have high academic competencies,” he said.

Cayco said that these “raw material” from the public schools in Metro Manila and even from the provinces, have notable deficiencies in English, Science, and Math.

Apart from giving them a nursing education, Cayco said Arellano tries to address the academic deficiencies caused by the sub-standard basic education they were given.

“We give them a chance. We do not discriminate of you graduated from a public school and you have low academic proficiencies. But in spite of that, with our low tuition, we still produce hundreds of board passers every year,” he said.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) earlier released the lists of top nursing schools in the country, based on their graduates passing percentage in the 2009 PRC licensure examinations in June and November of last year. – Rainier Allan Ronda

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved

Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates

Do not deny any student – DepEd

By GUIA TRINIDAD, Contributor

Amid the problem on classroom shortages, the Department of Education (DepEd) has instructed its officials to accommodate all children of school age in the more than 45,000 public schools nationwide.

These include all enrollees and transferees with incomplete documents as well as those who were never enrolled or are out of school for years.

“Every Filipino child must be assured of the opportunity to get high quality education that will make him or her, a whole person, a responsible citizen, and lead him or her to a successful entrepreneurial venture,” said Education Secretary Mona Valisno.

Valisno also said that she is counting on the creativity and innovativeness of the school principals and teachers in order to accommodate all those who will enroll, and calls on school heads to work with the community and the private sector in campaigning for more enrollees.

“With your support we can very well go beyond the estimated 23.4 million school children and move towards reaching 100 percent participation,” Valisno said.

She also reminded school officials and parents that even though enrollees with incomplete documents would be accepted, they must still complete the lacking documents as soon as they can.

For those who were out of school, they will be given the accreditation and equivalency test (A&E) to get them back to the mainstream of Education.


The DepEd has also came up with a way on how to decongest public high schools; the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) will support poor but deserving students to enroll in private high schools. Valisno is positive that the problem on classroom, shortages will be addressed and efforts shall be undertaken to coordinate possible solutions with concerned agencies and patterns like the local government, other government agencies, private businesses, community leaders and private individuals.

DepEd is also opening its Oplan Balik Eskwela – Command Center (OBE-CC) in its national headquarters in Pasig to help parents get their children to school. Similar action-centers are also open in various regional, provincial and city offices of DepEd.

(The writer is a Journalism major at the University of Sto. Tomas)

Filed under: Department of Education, Education

ROTC option in NSTP made ‘more attractive’


MANILA, Philippines – The National Service Training Program (NSTP) will undergo a major revamp this year with college students being required to initially undergo a 25-hour lecture module before they can choose which of the 3 program tracks they want to pursue.

The Philippine military sees this development as an opportunity to make the Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC), which is managed by the military, “more attractive”.

Enacted in 2001 as a response to calls to revamp the ROTC, then a required course for all male college students and reportedly prone to abuses, the NSTP law effectively made the ROTC optional as it gave students the option to take two other tracks the Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS), or the Literacy Training Service (LTS).

The NSTP law requires all students in the tertiary level, including those taking 2-year vocational courses, to take any of the three separate tracks for 60 hours.

The NSTP’s implementing rules were amended last February, however, to pave the way for a common module that all college students must now take.

Philippine Army spokesman Maj. Ronald Jess Alcudia said this module intends to help college students understand the NSTP and its components – the ROTC, the CWTS and the LTS.

According to Alcudia, “We are making our ROTC more attractive for the youth…This is optional but the defense of our country should not be optional,” said Alcudia.

He said that through the lecture series, students will be made aware of disaster response preparations, leadership and national security issues.

Alcudia could not say what will be the nature of the lecture on national security, saying the 25-hour module will be pursued by officials in charge of the ROTC, CWTS and LTS.

Alcudia said the military is just waiting for the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for the implementing directive. “We do not know the status. But we are coordinating with the CHED regarding the implementing directive,” he said.

Alcudia added that the changes are supposed to be implemented during this school year.

‘We in the Army…are preparing in case [we] will be tapped to coordinate with the schools to come up with the module lectures,” he said.

The 25-hour lecture module is included in the 60 hours under the NSTP course that students are required to undergo, according to Alcudia. –

Filed under: Department of Education, Education,

OFWs forced to get 2 jobs for children’s education

by Jocelyn Ruiz, ABS-CBN Europe News Buerau

ITALY – Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) based in Italy are forced to take a second job aside from their regular work to support the education of their children in the Philippines.

They are obliged to double their remittances based on the needs of payment of tuitions, school materials and uniforms of their children.

Carmen Ilagan risked herself to work abroad for her three children who are all going to study in this school year.

Aside from her regular job as domestic helper, she is forced to get an extra job.

“Nag-doble ako ng trabaho at tumatanggap ako ng extra work at nang madagdagan ang aking kita para doble ang padala ko ngayong enrollment at pasukan na,” she said.

Ilagan feels the pain of being separated from her kids but she knows her sacrifices will bring a better life for her family.

She shared that she calls her children to monitor their situation and give them parental advice.

“Sinasabihan ko sila sa pagpasok sa school magdala ng payong o kapote pati na din dun sa katulong na nagdadala sa anak ko na 4 na taon sa kinder,” stated Ilagan.

Quality college education

OFW couple Benjie and Lita Eclarin have a hard time working together to support the college education of their daughter.

They said that they need to tighten their belt to provide for the needs of their daughter to pursue a college education in Manila.

“Kailangan sa panahon na ito ay tipid at higpit ng sinturon kasi hindi katulad ng ginagawa ng aming pamilya dahil may pinag-aaral pa kami na nasa college,” said Benjie. “Napakahirap magpaaral ng college.”

They also added that parents like them have the responsibility when education is concerned.

“Mahal na ang mga bilihin, ang lahat at obligasyon nating magpaaral ng anak dahil iyon lang ang maipapamana naming sa mga bata,” added Lita.

A grandma’s sacrifice

Meanwhile, a 67-year-old OFW grandmother, Linda de Villa, continues to work abroad for her grandchild’s education in the Philippines.

Lola Linda got emotional while sharing her story to the ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau.

Despite the fact that she is supposed to be enjoying her pension in the Philippines, Lola Linda said she needs to sacrifice to help her family back home.

“Handa na akong makapag-aral sila maski na ako ay walang pinag-aralan. Hindi nakaakyat ng hagdan, basta sila makaakyat,” she said.

Even if she feels sadness and homesickness, Lola Linda said she is still hoping that her grandchild will finish his schooling so that she can go home.

Increase in remittances

Based on the studies of remittance centers here in Italy, the estimated remittances of OFWs in the months of May and June will rise compared to last year because of the double remittances of OFWs for the education of their children.

“May palang nag-iipon na sila for enrollment, ito June for school supplies. Ang matindi lang ngayon ay ang pag-we-weaken ng euro sa dollar kaya mas malaking euro ang kanilang ipapadala compared sa last year,” said Elsa Lim, managing director of Land Bank of the Philippines Rome.

Lim added that OFWs are willing to sacrifice their salary for their families back home.

She also said that the OFWs are brave enough to take on the challenges of working abroad.

Filed under: Encouragement, Inspiration, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs,

DEPED to Congress: Ratify Special Education Act

By Mitchelle L. Palabusanon/JPM (The Freeman) 

CEBU, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) is urging the House of Representatives to ratify the Special Education Act of 2010, as the passage of this bill will finally give due attention to the education of 5.49 million children with special needs (CSN) and people with disability in our country.

Deped Secretary Mona D. Valisno, in a statement, said that only two percent of Filipino children with special needs are able to get support from the government, unlike in other countries where they get 100% state support.

The passage of the law, Valisno said, will pave the way for the creation of a new Bureau of Special Education along with the existing bureaus of elementary, secondary, and alternative learning.

The law will also mandate the creation of at least one SPED center in each city and province of the country.

If approved, the new bureau will be tasked to formulate an appropriate curriculum and other appropriate programs to achieve functional literacy for all children with special needs.

Under the bill, the DepEd will prepare a scheme for financial and medical assistance, including nutritional programs, to poor but deserving children with special needs.

It will also draw up incentives to encourage private sector participation in the education and rehabilitation of children with special needs.

The education department estimated that there are 5.49 million CSNs in the Philippines or 13 percent of the total population of children.

Deped added that of this number, an estimated 4.2 million are persons with disabilities while1.27 million are gifted children. — THE FREEMAN

Filed under: Department of Education, Education,

More RP nurses going to Britain

By Jerome Aning/Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—More Filipino nurses are now leaving for the United Kingdom than those going to the United States over the past three years as immigration policies continue to impede demand for foreign nurses in America.

Emmanuel Geslani, a consultant of several Manila-based recruitment agencies, said Filipino nurses were finding it easier to seek employment in the United Kingdom via the study-and-work program introduced by the British health service four years ago.

“Filipino nurses hoping to work in the United States may have to wait five to seven years for H1-B working visas and two to three years for EB-3 immigrant visas before they can enter the US while those interested in improving their academic qualifications can enter the UK under the study-and-work program,” Geslani said.

He cited statistics released by the UK Borders and Immigration Agency showing that the annual average number of Filipino nurses who went to the United Kingdom reached 7,000 from 2007 to 2009.

By contrast, there was an annual average of less than 300 registered Filipino nurses entering the United States from 2003 to 2009 using H1-B work and EB-3 immigration visas, data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) show.

Among countries, Saudi Arabia has received the biggest number of Filipino nurses, with an average of 8,000 deployed yearly. The POEA figures show a yearly average of 13,000 nurses deployed to various countries including the United States, Geslani said.

Unemployed nurses

“The opening of study programs that include on-the-job training (OJT) for Filipino nurses has been a blessing for the more than 300,000 unemployed licensed nurses in our country, with the glut increasing each year with more than 100,000 graduates each year,” said Geslani, a former vice president of the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters and a recruiter for the past three decades.

The huge number of unemployed licensed nurses in the country has led to a sharp drop in enrollment at nursing schools.

The study-and-work program allows Filipino nursing undergraduates to improve their academic background by studying in a British university for nine months to two years while being deployed to an appropriate work place.

While studying, Filipino nurses are given an opportunity of 15.5 hours OJT with pay. Nursing graduates from overseas are required to work 20 hours a week while taking units to upgrade their skills to British standards.

One international consultancy firm with an office in Manila has a work-and-study program that could send Filipino nurses to the United Kingdom within six months, Geslani said.

Other health workers

The firm offers two-year courses in the United Kingdom for Filipino physical therapists, medical technologists, public health workers and even social workers who would like to enter the British healthcare industry.

A new program allows Filipino nursing graduates an opportunity to study in Britain for an additional year. They will then get a work experience of up to two years and be issued work permits.

Most Filipino nurses in the United Kingdom end up becoming caregivers, as the country is also suffering from a shortage of health workers, according to Geslani.

In demand

Filipino caregivers are in demand in Britain because they are better English speakers than their counterparts from European Union countries such as Poland and Romania, he said.

Many Filipino nurses also try to apply to become registered nurses in Britain and get permanent residence status immediately although the entry requirements are much tougher, he added.

Typically, overseas workers in Britain can apply for permanent residence after working there for five years.

Security issue

Geslani said that while going to the United States was “not entirely hopeless” for aspiring Filipino nurses, getting there was becoming more difficult.

“The US Citizenship and Immigration Service treats the migration of foreign nurses as a border-and-security issue and despite legislation to increase the number of foreign nurses government bureaucratic red tape has failed to find solutions to the lack of nurses in the US healthcare system,” he said.

US hospitals and health institutions are also suffering from funding problems due to the global financial crisis.

US President Barack Obama’s healthcare program augurs well for Filipino nurses because more hospitals and health facilities are to be set up in the following years as the US government implements universal health care, Geslani said.

Call center agents

“The problem is that the implementation just takes too long. Our students and graduates couldn’t wait to work abroad and deployment to the UK seems more promising. We already have many nursing graduates here who are working as call center agents while applying for work in the US,” he told the Inquirer.

Filipino nurses’ interest in going to the US may be actually waning because of the weak demand there. For the first time, there was a drop in Filipino nurses taking the National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX).

Only 3,024 took the exam from January to March this year, compared with 4,194 in the same quarter of 2009.

The NCLEX refers to the licensure examination administered by the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc.

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs,

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