COMMISSION on Higher Education (Ched)-Davao said orientation to allow various Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the region to conduct drug testing among college students and student applicants for the new school year 2018 to 2019 has started.
The memorandum order was approved by Ched Chairperson Patricia Licuanan last August 2, mandating all HEIs interested to implement mandatory drug testing should first conduct consultation with students.
Ched-Davao director Raul Alvarez, in an interview with SunStar Davao, said the Commission has already started touring HEIs in the region since last week to orient school administrations with the rules and regulations that they have to follow if they want to implement mandatory drug testing.
Alvarez said that HEIs are not required to implement the testing but rather encouraged. The HEIs may decide if they want it to be part of their institutional requirements for student admission and retention policies.
"After Ched's orientations with HEIs are done, the board members of a college or university should approve the policy we have discussed with them. If they approved it, they will send it to us and we will arrange the consultation with the students regarding this matter," he said.
The drug testing will be implemented next school year after the consultation with the students and agreement by all heads of HEIs.
Alvarez added that the drug test will only be conducted by drug facilities, physicians, and private medical practitioners from Department of Health.
He assured that results will be confidential. A positive result should not be used as the only basis for a disciplinary imposition and from being admitted to enroll in the schools.
"For drug dependent students, there will be interventions such as sanctions and rehabilitation. The HEIs are also expected to monitor the students that will be put to rehabilitation to assess their development and well-being," Alvarez said.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on August 16, 2017.
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