THE OCCUPATIONAL Therapy program of UST remains unrecognized abroad
despite UST having filed its application for accreditation five years
ago.

Dean Jocelyn Agcaoili of the College of Rehabilitation
Sciences (CRS) blamed the Occupational Therapy Association of the
Philippines (Otap) which she said has been sitting on UST’s application
since 2003.

Because UST does not have Otap recognition, its
OT program remains unrecognized by the World Federation of Occupational
Therapists (WFOT).

According to the WFOT website, there are
only five accredited OT schools in the country: University of the
Philippines-Manila (accredited since 1968), University of Perpetual
Help System-Laguna (1990), Velez College (2000), Cebu Doctors’ College
(2001), and Emilio Aguinaldo College (2006).

The
Varsitarian learned of the unaccredited status of UST’s OT program when
a UST graduate complained to the paper that despite having topped the
board recently, he failed to land a job in the United States. He
explained he could not take the US licensure exam because UST is not
accredited by the WFOT.

He recalled that UST professors had
boasted to OT students the latter would be immediately hired in the US
because of the fine reputation of the UST OT program.

“It was so disappointing,” said the UST board topnotcher, who asked not to be named.

When the Varsitarian brought the matter to Dean Agcaoili, she said UST has been enduring the delays by the Otap.

“It
took the association two years (in 2005) to respond to our request and
say that our Occupational Therapy program lacked the requirements for
accreditation,” Agcaoili said.

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She added she did not know what the requirements exactly were since she took office as dean only last year.

“The
Otap told me that the official handling the University’s application is
missing and that the association cannot locate him,” Agcaoili said.

Otap
president Arscille Rosario Gozon told the Varsitarian the association
has been unable to act on UST’s application for lack of manpower.

“Most of them (Otap staff) are going to the US for better paying jobs there,” Gozon said in a phone interview.

There
has been no permanent head for the group’s Educational Research
Committee, which handles the applications of schools for accreditation,
she added.

UST returned the application for the third time
in 2005, but the accreditation body found another set of missing
requirements in the Occupational Therapy program of CRS.

Otap
wanted a detailed description of the course contents and updates on the
internship and training programs from affiliated centers, Agcaoili said.

“What
is hard is that we were able to comply with one requirement Otap is
asking, and then another (one) pops into the picture,” Agcaoili said.
“Otap does not point out all the missing requirements in one blow.”

Gozon
said the first job of an appointed chair of the Educational Research
Committee is to review what his or her predecessor has left.

“As
practice, upon appointment as chair of the committee, you must first
review the requirements of the schools that have pending application
for accreditation,” Gozon said. “That is why the accreditation process
of UST has taken that long.”

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Nonetheless, despite the
missing requirements of UST, Otap will conduct an ocular inspection of
UST on Nov. 13 to 14, signaling development on the accreditation
process, Gozon said.

Agcaoili, on the other hand, assured
graduates and students that CRS is working on the accreditation of
Occupational Therapy in both Otap and WFOT.

As of
presstime, the alumni association of Occupational Therapy in the
University is seeking to have an “open forum” between the
administration, alumni, and students to inform them of the pending
application of UST in Otap. Prinz P. Magtulis

3 COMMENTS

  1. This breaks my heart! I am an alumni of UST.
    What other requirements do they need? How come the others were able to secure the accreditation?
    I got interested in this topic because my son is an Occupational Therapist. He is very knowledgeable in this field and had just graduated from his Doctorate Degree at USC (University of Southern California). Let me know if you need help – I will ask him.

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