A NEW administration and its phalanx of department heads can signal well or not, depending on where one’s coming from; thus, either “Tuloy ang ligaya” or “Balik ang ligaya.”

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Those in the know say it’s “Tuloy ang ligaya” at the Commission on Higher Education (Ched). This, because its incumbent chair, P-Noy appointee Patricia Licuanan, doesn’t brook mediocrity.

That’s bad news to those private and state schools, colleges and universities schools monitored by the Emmanuel Angeles Ched. To recall, he named 147 nursing schools in the watch list after failing for five consecutive years.

Of these 147, four are located in Cebu. Two of these, however---the University of the Visayas (UV) and Southwestern University (SWU)---proved Ched wrong by showing documents and evidences proving passing rates within those five years in question.

More than that, UV repeated its protest with a vengeance---producing an eighth placer in the Top Ten.

UV’s glory is making some eyes green with envy, naturally. They’re quick to advise making a double-take and focus on the passing rates of Cebu’s nursing schools.

I repeat the song’s line, “Everyone loves a winner.” When a school produces a topnotcher, nothing else matters in the euphoria of the moment.

To such contention some nursing schools can find resonance. In some recent past, two universities graduated its first batch of nursing students and, immediately thereafter, produced topnotchers in the board exams.

The recent exam results, however, see these schools barely making the passing rate.

But they’re not in the danger zone, unlike fourteen other nursing schools in Cebu which must now be on Ched’s radar.

Among these fourteen are the two schools in the Angeles list.

So, it’s strike 3 out of 5 so far.

The schools in trouble might want to learn from the other nursing schools consistently making good scores, among them Cebu Normal University, Cebu Doctors University, and Velez College.

One strategy they’ve shared is quality screening and, once the student is in, quality retention. Nursing students who incur a lot of extensions (additional hours to serve because of various inadequacies, including absences, insufficient cases handled and/or reported, inappropriate uniform, or some minor disciplinary incidents) are already monitored as early as third year and fourth year. Any iota of doubt about the student, and he or she doesn’t proceed to the next level.

The decision-making at this level necessarily prevents the student from graduating until he or she is deemed ready, fit and sure to pass the nursing exam. If this practice spawns abuse and overstaying students, think again. Any repeat of failure in two subjects automatically disqualifies the student from readmission in the succeeding semester.

Towards quality screening, some schools are eagle-eyed about whom to approve for exam taking. But it’s still touch and go from there. Last year, SWU had only one taker; he/she passed the exam and SWU registered 100 percent passing rate.

Another school in Mandaue used the same strategy. The lone taker failed, and registered 0 percent passing rate for the school. Tough luck!

(lelani.echaves@gmail.com)