MANILA — A Commission on Higher Education (CHED) official has assured that the results of the random drug test for college students and education personnel, especially those who will test positive for illegal substances, will be “strictly confidential” for security and legal reasons and will not be shared to agencies involved in the government’s anti-drug campaign.
CHED spokesperson, Commissioner Prospero de Vera, made the assurance during a recent interview to address fears the random drug test would raise among students, parents, and education personnel once it is implemented in colleges and universities.
De Vera said there are policies that allow both public and private colleges and universities to conduct mandatory drug tests.
”This is not designed to punish but just to subject the students to appropriate intervention services, such as counseling,” he said.
De Vera noted that students and education personnel who will test positive for illegal drugs would undergo all possible health interventions available to address their problem.
“This is not designed to screen students… nor discriminate, but just to help facilitate intervention,” he explained.
Many private colleges and universities have begun implementing the drug tests in coordination with officials of the Department of Health (DOH), which provides the funds for the tests, he added.
Meanwhile, the CHED official noted that there are legal issues involved in the disclosure of confidential information about students, teaching and non-teaching personnel, as this is against the law.
Neither will CHED submit such information to other agencies for inclusion in the “drugs watch list”, he said.
De Vera further said that CHED is not keen on incorporating the evils of drug use in any tertiary curriculum because its prohibition as a condition for admission and retention in colleges and universities is already stated in the schools’ student handbooks.
It is also a must that education personnel are free from drugs to keep their employment, he added.
De Vera said the random drug tests in colleges and universities nationwide may be conducted anytime once the DOH is prepared to implement it.
“We will ensure the strict confidentiality of the drug test results. CHED and DOH are committed… that we cannot provide information on this to other government agencies,” he said. Ma. Luisa Macabuhay Garcia/PNA-northboundasia.com