Amid the demands for nurses here and abroad, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is looking into the possibility of partially lifting the moratorium on the opening of new programs for Nursing.
CHED Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III, during a virtual press conference for the 1st National Higher Education Day on Tuesday, May 18, said that the officials of the Commission have been discussing the matter for a long time already.
“What we did was to consult with the Department of Labor (DOLE) and the Department of Health (DOH) on what is the actual situation on the ground as far as our nursing health personnel is concerned,” De Vera said.
De Vera said in April, this matter has been already discussed in the Commission en Banc but CHED wanted to find out what is the condition on the ground. “And it appears that based on the data of the DOH and DOLE, we need to act on this,” he added.
CHED officials, De Vera said, will start discussing the moratorium on the opening of nursing programs by this week or next week.
“Our plan is not a wholesale lifting but a targeted lifting,” De Vera said. For instance, he noted that CHED “can allow the opening of nursing programs in the geographic areas where COVID is very prevalent.”
This, De Vera said, is where government health facilities will be upgraded. “Therefore, you need additional help personnel because the supply of nurses is particularly acute in some areas of the country because we need this for the expanded response to COVID,” he explained.
Another consideration, De Vera said, is “when we talk of the nursing program, the whole world needs health personnel now because of COVID so the demand is not just really the demand of the health requirements of the country…there is also very strong demand in other countries.”
De Vera also noted that in some countries, residency status is offered to overseas foreign workers (OFWs) who are working in the health sector just to integrate them.
“So this has been an ongoing discussion in the Commission and with the DOH and DOLE agreeing that there’s a need, it will be easier for the commission to look into this and decide on this,” De Vera added.
The moratorium on the opening of new nursing programs is contained in CHED Memorandum Order No. 32 series of 2010 along with four other Higher Education programs.
CHED imposed the moratorium on Nursing, Business Administration, Teacher Education, Hotel and Restaurant Management and Information Technology because of the “proliferation of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)” offering the said programs. If allowed to continue unabated, CHED said it would “result in deterioration of the quality of graduates” of these programs.