CHEd to discuss with SUCs ‘return service’ program for nursing students
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) will discuss with state colleges and universities (SUCs) the possible implementation of a return service program to address the shortage of nurses in the Philippines, said the agency’s chair Prospero de Vera on Thursday.
De Vera announced the plan during a press conference on Thursday, after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had ordered CHEd to address the shortage of nurses due to migration.
“The return service can be imposed especially in schools where government subsidies [are] needed. Because if the government pays for their education, the government can attach certain provisions to their subsidy,” De Vera.
“So we’ll discuss with the state universities and colleges if it is possible, in terms of this program for nurses, who are enrolled because their tuition and miscellaneous expenses are paid by the government,” he added.
De Vera also added that they could provide additional scholarships to nursing students or additional stipends attached to the return service.
However, De Vera acknowledged that this might be difficult for private institutions as the government does not subsidize them.
“Sa private schools medyo mahirap [in private schools it may be a little difficult], because we are not subsidizing them unless they have a scholarship program,” he explained.
De Vera also mentioned discussions on strengthening the implementation of the “Doktor Para sa Bayan” Act which aimed to produce more physicians by offering qualified candidates free tuition, book, living and other allowances, all while requiring the scholar to serve in public health facilities for at least one year for every scholarship year enjoyed.
“There are discussions on whether this should also be done to address the shortage,” said De Vera.