Last March, the Electronics and Communications Engineering Department of the Technological Institute of the Philippines-Manila (TIP) distributed an agreement letter to the graduating ECE students. If signed, a student agrees not to have his Transcript of Records (TOR) – a requirement for the board examinations – released lest he passes the department’s competitive examinations. This only goes to show the lengths the department would go to in order to reach or surpass the licensure examination’s national passing percentage.
The first paragraph of the agreement states, “The Electronics and Communications Engineering Department of the Technological Institute of the Philippines – Manila commits itself to produce high caliber graduates… the department also strives to be CHED’s center for excellence… most importantly, the department is committed to prepare its graduates for the profession they are entitled to belong.”
It is evident in the first paragraph that the department is presenting itself as wanting nothing but the best for its graduates, even borrowing a line from TIP’s Vision to ensure that the student signs the agreement.
The second paragraph states that in order to be included in the roster of professionals in his specialized field, a graduate must first pass a licensure examination prepared by the Professional Regulations Commission. The paragraph also stresses that competence is needed in order to pass the examination and that the ECE Department is “doing everything it could to help its students to receive their most deserved license.”
Yet it is a fact that over the past few years, the department had never surpassed the national passing percentage (I’ve yet to confirm if it did surpass the national passing percentage at all) for the ECE licensure examination which is marked at 36%. The November 2006 licensure exam produced a 14% passing rate while the April 2007 exam produced only five passers (reportedly a 10% performance), a dismal decrease from the April 2006 exams in which the department posted a 24% passing rate.
The third paragraph states that a competitive examination would be given by the department on August 18 and 25 and that the graduate would have to average at least 60% in order to pass the test. If not, his TOR will not be released for the mean time.
Furthermore, the fourth paragraph gives the graduate another chance: he will be given another set of exam on September 29. He should at least get a 70% average for his TOR to be released. If he still fails to pass the test, then he will be advised to take the April 2008 licensure exam.
The agreement borders along the logic that if the graduate cannot pass the department’s competitive exams, what more the PRC licensure exams?
Such a short-term move does not directly answer the problems that are plaguing the department which, aside from poor licensure exam performance, include lack of competitive faculty, inadequate laboratory equipments and apathetic students.
What the department should do is to start screening students worthy of advancing to higher year levels early on. They should coordinate with the Humanities and Social Sciences and Math and Physics Departments regarding it, seeing as the two handles most of the lower year subjects. They could formulate the ways and means to properly screen the first and second-year ECE students.
Come third and fourth year, the task now falls on the department (as well as instructors of other departments teaching ECE students) to instill the necessary skills and knowledge for its students to not only pass the licensure exam, but to land a decent-paying job as well.
All throughout, the ECE Department Student Government and the
See you again next year!
There are students who have already signed the agreement, seemingly naive to its consequences. As long as the department – and the school – remain unable to answer the real problems concerning students, incidents such as this would continue for years to come. The ECE Department seems hell-bent in attaining a commendable licensure exam performance – through whatever means necessary – as the graduates start gearing up for it.