The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has come under fierce criticism from legislators for allowing foreigners to enroll in medical programs of government-funded State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) – to the detriment of aspiring Filipino students.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, in slamming CHED chairman Prospero de Vera, said he found it “a bit repulsive” that clueless government officials are letting local taxpayers fund the education of foreigners.
Drilon said that SUCs should give priority to poor Filipino students wanting to become doctors instead of permitting foreigners to crowd them out.
“This why the Philippines has fewer and fewer medical graduates who would serve in the country,” he said.
De Vera admitted during the Senate’s CHED budgetary hearing that he has no power to regulate the admission of foreigners in the medical schools of SUCs as this is a function of their board of regents.
To address this problem, Drilon said he has asked Sen. Pia Cayetano of the education panel to include a special provision in the 2021 budget “that the board of regents of SUCs should not be allowed to admit foreign students because the SUCs are supported by taxpayers’ money.”
If they wish, Drilon said foreign students can enroll in private medical schools and pay the appropriate fees for their individual education.
Additionally, Drilon said that such prohibition on foreign students mustn’t apply only to the medical programs but to all courses offered in SUCs.
Sen. Imee Marcos revealed that currently there are around 26,000 foreign students studying in the country, which should be regarded as a cause of concern especially if they are enrolled in the various SUCs.