Stress and pressure haunt SBA Compre Exam Retakers

Along with the already dire pandemic situation, the School of Business and Accountancy (SBA) Comprehensive Exam retakers are also locked down in fear of their futures at stake.

“COVID-19 brings so much mental stress to everybody, including the students. It is difficult to focus and prioritize academic requirements during this trying time” stated the Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants – Holy Angel University (JPIA-HAU) in a mediated interview with The Angelite, regarding the Comprehensive Exam Retake.

Held last February 22, 26, and 29, “Only 63 out of 133 students passed the comprehensive exams, making that 47.37% or less than half of the batch,” JPIA-HAU disclosed. Rendering the 52.63% who failed the test, in the brink of not graduating within this school year and disabling them from taking the October 2020 Certified Public Accountant Licensure Examinations (CPALE) if no concrete plans for a retake will be implemented.

Moreover, “According to the SBA Administrators, the students who would pass the retake in May would be considered summer graduates because the semester supposedly ended on April 06, which would be the date of conferment for those who passed the exams the first time” JPIA-HAU relayed.

For that matter, the organization explained, “…the retakers should not be considered summer graduates because the retake was originally scheduled in the last week of March, but was postponed due to the lockdown. Our question is, why should the students bear the consequence of being hailed “summer graduates” even though they had no failed subjects, and the reason behind the postponement of the retake is a fortuitous event?”

“The main purpose of the comprehensive exams is to simulate the actual CPALE. The first take of the comprehensive examinations, whether the result be passed or failed, already served its purpose” JPIA-HAU added.

On their own

The retakers’ representative also expressed in the mediated interview, “All graduating 5th year students have batch officers and batch names. ‘Yung dito [sa Novixor batch] po kasi, halos lahat po ng batch officers passed the comprehensive exam. Isa lang ata ‘yung ‘di nakapasa. ‘Di naman sa dinidisregard namin yung batch officers, pero may separate na gc [group chat] ‘yung mga students na hindi pumasa. Nakakausap lang namin batch officers pag may need na letter or may gusto kami iparating sa Dean. Gumagalaw kasi kami on our own.”

It has been two (2) weeks since The Angelite contacted the Novixor batch officers but until now, no official response was given regarding the matter.

Furthermore, the retakers directly aired the issue via email to the university president, Luis Maria R. Calingo, where they were asked to list their other concerns in a consolidated document along with recommended solutions before agreeing to the Zoom video conference that was being suggested to him.

After complying and sending the asked document, however, the retakers received a reply from the president which said that he referred with guiding principles for decision-making, the request to the key administrators which includes SBA, and Student Affairs and recognize their recommendation as his final decision.

Rescheduling and Contingency Plans

Originally scheduled on March 30, 31, and April 1, the retake was cancelled when the entire island of Luzon was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then rescheduled to April 20, 22, and 24 which was called off again as the ECQ extended.

Consequently, the SBA Dean’s Office conducted a survey on May 8, asking the retakers to confirm their availability according to the dates stipulated: May 25, 27, and 29.

“This [survey] does not constitute that the examinations are already scheduled, we are to see first how mobility will transpire during GCQ, should there be limitations as to mobility and other limiting factors, we shall not schedule the exams even if all have signified their availability”, clarified the SBA Program Coordinator, Renz Marasigan, who posted the official Google Forms.

Insofar, the office has not yet released the turn out of the survey. The Angelite also received no response after an email for an interview was sent to the Dean a week ago.

Initially, the SBA Administrators had formulated a contingency plan for the retake of the exam:

a. To administer the exam inside the campus wherein, according to the retakers’ representative, HAU’s busses will be used to pick up those who do not have private vehicles and a “No face mask, No entry” policy will be applied; or

b. For the retakers to avail of the online exam which requires them to have two (2) electronic gadgets — (1) for the Zoom video conferencing aid and (2) for answering the exam.

“A physical retake at HAU is not feasible due to the ECQ and even after the lifting of the quarantine, it is still not advisable to do a pen and paper exam due to risks on the health and safety of students. Lifting of the lockdown does not signify the end of the virus, unless a vaccine or a cure can be made, alongside mass testing. An online retake is also inconvenient for the students because not everybody can comply with the 2-gadget requirement and not all students have access to a stable internet connection” JPIA-HAU furthered.

In a Zoom meeting, the HAU Admins informed the 5th year students that waiving the retake is impossible because the Commission on Higher Education(CHED) requires it under the curriculum. “However, several higher education institutions have already cancelled their mock boards and retention policies such as Colegio de Sebastian-Pampanga and Tarlac State University” JPIA-HAU added.

As of this writing, the retakers are still waiting for that “final decision” yet to be made.

This is a developing story.

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