IT’S FINAL. The Faculty of Medicine and Surgery will revert to the synchronized curriculum and shelve the present curriculum applying the problem-based learning (PBL) strategy.

In separate letters last April 1, Rector Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P. instructed Medicine Dean Angeles Tan-Alora and Fr. Regent Jerry Manlangit, O.P. to apply the pre-PBL curriculum to the incoming freshmen this year.

The Rector said the PBL method will still be used for the incoming second- and third-year students, but with revisions. He said remedial measures and basic subjects will be added, especially for the sophomores.

PBL is the controversial method used in the innovative curriculum that started to be implemented two years ago. It largely employs case studies in an inductive mode.

The pre-PBL curriculum, on the other hand, is the synchronized curriculum that is lecture-based.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, Fr. Lana explained his decision.

“I believe that the faculty members are not yet prepared for that kind of innovation and that (the PBL) still has to be subjected to further studies,” he said. “But we’re not closing the door on PBL. There may come a time that we’ll be able to fully implement the PBL if the difficulties encountered are addressed.”

In making the decision, Fr. Lana evaluated the recommendations of the Department of Medical Education (MedEd), Dean Tan-Alora, Fr. Manlangit, and the special committee headed by Dr. Dante Mercado that was formed by Fr. Aureada, O.P., the vice-rector for academic affairs, to address the issues raised by Medicine faculty members against PBL.

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“We will still continue evaluating the merits and demerits of the PBL. Let’s find out what happens this year. If there’s a need to continue the program of the first year, then we will (do so),” Fr. Lana said.

Dean Tan-Alora, whose term will expire at the end of the month, said the Faculty accepts the Rector’s decision.

“We respect his decision and we will implement it to the best of our abilities,” she said.

Meanwhile, Fr. Manlangit said the chairpersons of the different departments will be coordinating with the MedEd to prepare the curricula that the three affected year levels will use.

According to MedEd chair Dr. Aurora Bauzon, she still hopes that the PBL method would “eventually” be implemented.

“We will do our best to improve the present curriculum and will would be open to suggestions, but we are not closing our doors on the PBL,” she said. “Considering the improvements that will be introduced for the incoming second-year and third-year students, we hope that it (PBL) will eventually include all year levels.

Faculty members who pushed for the return of the pre-PBL curriculum say the PBL curriculum remains problematic for the second- and third-year levels.

“O.k. na ‘yung sa first year. No questions with that. But the second-year and third-year (curriculum), if they are not careful with that, they are courting trouble,” Medicine Faculty Association president Dr. Edgardo Orlina said.

He added that the pre-PBL and the PBL curriculum cannot exist side by side, especially for the third-year students.

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“Ang problema kasi, which one should be dominant? The PBL or the remedial measures? The third-year students especially missed a lot, so the dominant one cannot be the PBL. Only Wednesdays and Saturdays are available for the remedial measures—which I think will not be enough,” Orlina said.

Medicine professor Dr. Artemio Ordinario agreed. He said more remedial measures are needed for the third-year students to catch up.

Ordinario also expressed fears about the MedEd’s cooperation with the chairs of the different departments to implement the restored synchronized curriculum considering its staunch support for the PBL and its hostility toward the other departments who were critical of the PBL.

Ordinario said the MedEd’s “openness to suggestions” remains to be seen.

“I don’t know whether MedEd can do that because they have always been antagonistic toward the departments,” he said.

Ordinario added that the appointment of a new dean is very crucial to the implementation of the “new” curriculum. Elka Krystle R. Requinta

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