Opposition Senator Chiz Escudero said the proliferation of "diploma mills" shows the failure of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in monitoring and regulating the quality of education in our colleges and universities.
"Our students, and ultimately their parents, should be protected from schools offering substandard educational programs. CHED has the power to regulate these programs and even has the authority to shut them down. Sadly, it has not done so," he said.
"Unaware of the appalling performance in licensure exams, parents spend hard-earned money in schools that profit from their dreams of a better life for their children," Escudero said.
He said that data from the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) show that the average national passing rate for courses with licensure examinations has never breached the 50 percent mark from 1994-2004.
Escudero said the CHED wields power ranging from the authority to issue sanctions from "initial warning for program termination" to the issuance of a "recommendation for program termination" on schools found to have substandard performance.
"However, CHED has not done so. The least it could do is to make public the performance of schools in various licensure examinations," he said.
"If the government can spend for expensive TV infomercials, I see no reason they cannot allot some funds to a more meaningful information campaign that would help our parents make informed choices on which school to choose for their children," Escudero said.
The senator pointed to the poor performance of many nursing schools in the country.
Escudero said that the Commission on Audit (COA) had already criticized CHED for failure to shut down non-performing nursing schools whose graduates fail miserably in PRC board exams.
The 39-year old senator said according to COA auditors, there were 19 schools that did not even produce a board passer in the recent past.
"The COA went on to say that from 2001 to 2005, only 111 out of 263 nursing schools nationwide managed to have 50 percent of their graduates pass the licensure examination. It also said that no school offering the nursing program with poor PRC performance has ever been shut down," he said.
Escudero noted that nursing and Hotel and Restaurant Management continue to be the top two college degree courses this year, with 422,978 and 123,523 enrolled students, respectively, out of a total of over 2.6 million college students this school year.