Twenty graduates from Silliman University-Nutrition and Dietetics (SU-ND) Department passed this year’s Nutritionist-Dietitian Licensure Examination, giving SU a 64.52% passing rate which is higher than the 63.59% national passing rate.
Prof. Michelle Naranjo, chairperson of the ND department, said that this year’s ND licensure exam is different. It was more of comprehension and applications rather than a true or false and multiple choice types of questions.
One of the passers, Caryl Nocete, said that to prepare for the exam, she studied well, reviewed her past lessons, and prayed a lot.
“I cannot explain the whole process of preparations and even the examination, but I just kept on with the purpose of passing the exam,” Nocete said.
Cause of failure
Of the 34 takers, 31 were first-time takers while three were re-takers. Out of the 34, 14 of the takers from SU did not pass the exam.
In Naranjo’s assessment, one of the factors of this year’s passing rate was how the students participated in the built-in review classes which were held every Saturday as part of their practicum.
Naranjo added that the problem is not the review schedule, but mainly the students who were absent. Only half of the students attended the Saturday built-in review class in one of their subjects.
“We cannot say that they are not well or do not have enough knowledge… however, some of them were overconfident or too relaxed to think they could make it“ said Naranjo.
Aside from the built-in review class, some of the takers also reviewed in the University of the Philippines-Los Baños Review Center. They also had one month self-review before the examination.
Naranjo is challenging this year’s batch of graduating students to take review classes seriously.
Jobs for non-passers
However, Naranjo said that even the ND graduates who do not have a license can still be considered nutritionists and dietitians.
“The licensure exam is intended for those who would like to go into therapy or hospital dietetics,” Naranjo said.
Jobs such as being supervisors in food establishments and in public health nutrition and as nutritionists in the region or in the country are open for those who do not have licenses.
“Although, the licensure exam is an indicator of our success, I would like also to say that there are a lot of students who didn’t pass the licensure exam and yet they are very successful right now. They are even employed outside the country. I would like us to get a higher passing rate, but I am proud to say that our graduates have landed competitive jobs with or without the licensure exam,” Naranjo added.
The ND department is planning to elevate its standards after finding out that 56% of the takers who did not make it had 1.0 grades while they were still studying in the university.
As of now, ND students can still pass the course as long as they get a 2.0 QPA even with a 1.0 grade in a major subject.
“We will adapt a grading system that makes 2.5 the passing [grade] for all the major subjects. We are planning to impose this by this school year,” Naranjo said.
Naranjo also said that they will have the second Level 1 accreditation from the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities by next year.
The accreditation requires the school, university, or department to have a good number of faculty members who have master’s degree, adequate facilities, skilled students, and quality education.
By Leslie J. Batallones