Mandatory SAT eyed for students

By Rainier Allan Ronda
A mandatory Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) similar to the former National College Entrance Examinations (NCEE) may soon be administered to university-bound students wanting to take up professional degree courses.

The mandatory SAT for college students has been recommended by the Presidential Task Force on Education (PTFE) for implementation as soon as possible as part of a plan to overhaul the country’s education system.

Mona Dumlao-Valisno, presidential adviser on education and a member of the PTFE, said the SAT would serve as a guide for higher education institutions to determine if the student is prepared for collegiate courses.

Valisno said the SAT would only be required for students who wanted to enroll in collegiate courses, not for technical and vocational studies.

According to Valisno, the SAT could be implemented in the next school year.

“We’re ready for it by next school year,” Valisno said.

In a 21-page report, the PTFE has proposed a major overhaul of the higher education system, involving a review and revamp of the first two years of college education into a two-year “pre-specialization” level.

After passing the SAT, the PTFE said students should undergo the “pre-specialization courses” for two years before they would be qualified to take either a three year or four year professional degree courses such as Engineering and Architecture; or three years of Accounting, Pharmacy, and Physical Therapy, or two years of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science programs.

Valisno said the primary objective in the overhaul is to raise the standard of higher education especially in the first two years, making sure that it is up to international standards.

“We’ll benchmark these two years of pre-specialization with those of other countries like the US, Canada, Singapore and the others so we can be sure that it’s of international standard,” Valisno said.

“We want international recognition and accreditation of our graduates. So we have to guarantee to the world that the quality of our higher education is of international standard,” she said.

Valisno pointed out the PTFE’s review of the country’s education system showed that there is no need to add a mandatory grade 7 or 5th year high school to raise the quality of Filipino graduates.

While the Philippines is one of a very few countries that has 10 years of basic education, the PTFE discovered the deficiency was addressed by the longer professional degree programs of local colleges and universities.

Valisno revealed the Philippines virtually has the longest nursing program that is practically five years long.

“Our nursing program is practically five years because they have compulsory summer courses. In the US, their nursing program takes only three years to finish,” Valisno said.

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