If it ain’t broke, why fix it? That’s the question hounding a government agency handling board examinations after a belated notice created confusion among the examinees and their parents.
The Professional Regulations Commission, particularly Engr. Praxedes Bernardo, chairman of the three members of the Professional Regulatory Board of Civil Engineering, issued on October 1, 2019 a notice to the examinees disallowing the use of Casio Calculator FX-991 ES, FX-991 ES PLUS and FX 570 ES PLUS in the licensure examinations scheduled on Nov. 8, 2019.
The said models of calculator were apparently the ones used by the students since their freshman years until their board review.
In a petition and opposition filed before PRC Chairperson Teofilo S. Pilando, Jr. on Oct. 8, 2019, more than 4,000 petitioners stressed the lack of time given to them to look for Engr. Bernardo’s preferred models of calculator which were last manufactured 30 years ago and deemed no longer available in the market, the absence of consultation among the stake-holders, the lack of sufficient time for the examinees to familiarize themselves in using the antiquated models (given one is able to buy it from some store), and the timing of the notice when it could have been released several months ago to give the manufacturers time to produce and properly distribute the antiquated calculators and make them accessible for purchase to examinees all over the country.
“We, the undersigned (members of the academic community and professional organizations, reviewers, reviewees, parents) would like to voice out our opposition to disallowing the use of CASIO CALCULATOR FX-991 ES, FX-991 ES PLUS and FX-570 ES PLUS in the Licensure examinations,” the petitioners stated.
The rest of their opposition reads:
“The scientific calculator (CASIO CALCULATOR FX-991 ES, FX-991 ES PLUS and FX 570 ES PLUS) have been in use since 2009 by all engineering students in their respective licensure examinations.
“Engineering board exam is the most difficult board exam in all licensure examinations except Bar Exams and Physician Licensure Exam. Reviewees need to review 6 months or more in order to pass the said examination. The job of an engineer is to formulate the equations. He only uses the calculator to facilitate mechanical and civil calculations.
“CASIO CALCULATOR FX-991 ES, FX-991 ES PLUS and FX 570 ES PLUS are not programmable calculators according to the technical experts of Casio International. Calculators are only tools and they facilitate manual calculations. Calculators can never help the examinees formulate the required equations needed in the problems.
“CASIO CALCULATOR FX-991 ES, FX-991 ES PLUS and FX 570 ES PLUS are accepted calculator brand for the engineering licensure exams in the United States, Germany and other advanced countries. Are we better than them?
“The examinee should acquire strong foundations on basic concepts and must understand the concepts needed to use the calculator as a tool. Even though the modern calculators had advanced features like Matrices, Vectors and Calculus, still calculators are only tools.
“The students had already bought calculators CASIO CALCULATOR FX-991 ES or FX-991 ES PLUS or FX 570 ES PLUS with their parents’ hard earned money hoping that their sons/daughters pass the exam and hopefully would find jobs and help their parents soon.
“Engr. Praxedes Bernardo, Engr. Romeo Estañero, and Engr. Pericles Dakay instead of motivating the examinees to study well and pass the CE board exam this coming November 9 and 10, 2019, is creating confusion and havoc among the hapless examinees. Some students are now in a state of panic due to a very short notice, without consultations to the examinees.
“On the document issued by PRC Dated October 1, 2019 signed by the CHAIRMAN of the Professional Regulatory Board of CIVIL ENGINEERING, Engr. Praxedes Bernardo, in the General Instructions No. 5 b 2nd sentence- ‘SEE LIST OF ALLOWED CALCULATORS’, the availability of the said models shown are not available in the market in Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Palawan, Puerto Prinsesa, and etc. Furthermore, the issued document does not bear the signature and approval of the PRC Commissioner.
“Whose order are we going to follow? The one Memorandum Circular No. 2018-01 issued by The Chairman of PRC, Hon. Teofilo S. Pilando Jr., the highest authority in PRC or the lower ranked Chairman of the Professional Regulatory Board of Civil Engineering, Engr. Praxedes Bernardo.” (EC)