Private schools must justify tuition hike petitions amid lockdown: DepEd


Posted at Apr 21 2020 07:00 PM | Updated as of Apr 22 2020 01:15 AM

MANILA - Private schools seeking to raise tuition rates due to the coronavirus lockdown need to justify their requests, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Tuesday.

“Private schools still have to apply and justify their proposal to increase their tuition,” said Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan, adding that the matter would be discussed by the department's management committee.

Resources of private schools mainly come from tuition and other fees but lockdowns across the country, which were implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, have shuttered schools and prompted a possible delay in enrollment for the next school year.

DepEd Spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla, meanwhile, said private schools would still get tuition subsidies through the department’s voucher program.

Sevilla said there would be delays in the processing of the voucher subsidy program, amounting to P7 billion, because of limited personnel and work hours in banks due to the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and other parts of the country.

The voucher program, known as the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE), subsidizes tuition and other fees of poor senior high school students in private schools.

GASTPE also subsidizes teachers in small private schools so that their salaries can match those of their counterparts in public schools.

Last week, the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea) said private schools no longer have sufficient resources to support the salaries of teachers and personnel.

According to Cocopea’s study, only 40 percent of private schools can provide salaries for their personnel until April 30.

The group also claimed 40 percent of private schools nationwide face closure if the opening of classes for the next academic year is moved to August from the usual class opening schedule in June. 

--Report from Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News