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DepEd appeals to private schools to defer tuition hike

 

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday appealed to private schools in basic education nationwide to “defer increases” in tuition and other miscellaneous fees for the upcoming school year.

Department of Education (MANILA BULLETIN)

Department of Education (MANILA BULLETIN)

In an advisory, DepEd said that private schools should reconsider implementing tuition hike this School Year (SY) 2020-2021 in “view of the financial constraints that parents and learners are expected to face due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.”

For DepEd, it is “practicable” for private schools to defer increases on tuition and other school fees when they start classes this coming school year. DepEd added that it shall “endeavor to make any application of private schools of tuition increases transparent and reasonable, in accordance with the applicable laws and rules and regulations.”

While DepEd recognizes the need to ensure the sustainability of private educational institutions so that they may continue to be viable partners in the delivery of quality basic education services in the country, the agency stressed this “objective must be balanced with the accessibility of these services to learners, particularly those whose families are experiencing financial difficulties brought by the imposition of necessary COVID-19 management measures.”

Likewise, DepEd also called on private schools to ensure “transparency in the structure of tuition fees and miscellaneous charges for this school year.” DepEd said that there have also been concerns over certain school charges that are not consistent with distance learning. “We understand that there are new expenses that come with distance learning, but there are also diminished expenses in light of the major change in learning delivery modality,” it added.

In its appeal, DepEd cited Section 42 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 232 or the “Education Act of 1982” which provides that “each private school shall determine its rate of tuition and other school fees or charges… subject to rules and regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports” (now DepEd, TESDA, and CHED).

DepEd noted that the guidelines on tuition fee and miscellaneous charge increases may be found in DepEd Order No. 88, s. 2010 known as the 2010 Revised Manual of Regulations for Private Schools in Basic Education.

“Private schools shall be guided by the provisions of the said DepEd Order on the application for increase, required consultation, and proper allocation of tuition fees,” DepEd ended.

Despite this appeal, DepEd has yet to provide initial data on how many private schools that offer basic education have applied for tuition and other fees increase for this SY.

Enrollment turnout remains low

As DepEd issues this appeal, the enrollment turnout in private schools after more than three weeks of registration period remains relatively low.

Latest national enrollment data from DepEd as of June 25 showed that there are 558, 705 learners who are currently enrolled in private schools nationwide. Of this number, 21, 106 learners registered in Kindergarten; 121, 322 in Elementary; 226, 856 in Junior High School (JHS); 188, 372 in Senior High School (SHS); and 1, 049 learners with disabilities.

The highest number of enrollees in private schools is recorded in Region IV-A with 94, 634 learners followed by Region III with 75, 886 and National Capital Region (NCR) with 53, 092.

Earlier, DepEd said that the enrollment rate in private schools is relatively low since DepEd started the enrollment period on June 1. “This is because not all private schools have conducted enrollment simultaneous with the DepEd schedule and private schools reporting has significant lag even under normal conditions,” it added.

In a recent public briefing DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio explained that when it comes to tuition and other fees, private schools should “justify” first the reason for applying for a hike.

To a certain extent, San Antonio said that private schools have “autonomy” when it comes to collecting tuition and other fees from their students. While it is understandable for private schools to implement tuition and other fees hike since they “have no other source of funds” to maintain school operations, he noted that the increase should be “fair and justified.”


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/06/25/deped-appeals-to-private-schools-to-defer-tuition-hike/)

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