UST OCCUPATIONAL Therapy (OT) graduates will have an easier time getting work abroad now that the course has obtained accreditation of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT).

“We just saw the announcement from the Internet last [June 7]. However, we are still waiting for the official documents from the WFOT,” said College of Rehabilitation Sciences (CRS) Dean Jocelyn Agcaoili.

Agcaoili said recognition by the WFOT is necessary for UST graduates to be able to work in other countries. The international certification followed full accreditation from the Occupational Therapy Association of the Philippines (Otap) last March 14. Otap’s nod is a requirement for WFOT recognition.

The University had been seeking Otap’s accreditation since 2003. The program was granted “partial” accreditation last September after that an ocular inspection conducted in March last year. Agcaoili had cited “instruction or teaching” as one of the criteria that had to be reviewed.

CRS forwarded the application to WFOT last April.

Sally Jane Uy, occupational therapy department chair said the international body had reviewed the recommendations given by the Otap.

“By saying ‘meeting the requirements, these are the minimum standards set by the WFOT. This includes looking at the curriculum, faculty profile, facilities—including library and laboratory facilities—and activities the program is engaged in promoting the profession,” Uy said.

“More importantly, they are looking at how the educational system was able to contribute to the growth of the profession,” Uy added.

The WFOT accreditation will not only enable Thomasians to get a job abroad, it will also give them access to higher education.

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“Pursuing a master’s or doctorate in occupational therapy requires one to be a graduate of a WFOT-recognized school. There are no graduate programs in occupational therapy offered in the Philippines yet,” Uy said.

As part of the accreditation process, each member school has to reapply for accreditation every five years. Upon doing so, the international body sends feedback on how the school can improve the occupational therapy program by determining its strengths and weaknesses.

“We have to constantly work on these things, and we have to be updated with the current trends in occupational therapy—both in OT practice and OT education—so that we could be at par with the international standards,” Agcaoili said.

UST is now one of the six occupational therapy schools in the country accredited by the WFOT alongside University of the Philippines-Manila (accredited in 1968), University of Perpetual Help-Laguna (1990), Velez College (2000), Cebu Doctors’ College (2001), and Emilio Aguinaldo College (2006).

In September 2008, the Varsitarian reported a complaint of an OT graduate who was unable to take a United States licensure exam despite of being a board topnotcher because UST was not accredited. Rommel Marvin C. Rio

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