Lawmaker seeks creation of CHED audit body

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian called for the creation of an audit body attached to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) that will monitor the increase in the salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff, and the improvement of school facilities bankrolled by tuition hikes as provided under CHED Memorandum Order No. 3, series of 2012.

Gatchalian, a member of the House committee on higher and technical education, proposed that auditing bodies could be formed under CHED’s regional offices.

According to the memorandum, 70 percent of the proceeds shall be used to increase “salaries, wages, allowances and other benefits of its teaching and non-teaching personnel and other staff, except administrators who are principal stockholders of the HEI (higher educational institutions).”

At least 20 percent, meanwhile, shall be used for the improvement or modernization of “buildings, equipment, libraries, laboratories, gymnasia and other similar facilities” and operation costs.

HEIs only have to submit to CHED a certificate of intended compliance and a certificate of compliance, both certified under oath by the school head to show where the proceeds of school fees hike are going.

Other documents to be given to CHED on or before April 1 are the list of student council officers, certification on the conduct and results of consultation, comparative schedule of tuition and other fees for the current academic year and proposed increases and a letter of advice by the school head informing the agency of the planned tuition hike.

The provisions apply to private HEIs.

Gatchalian said private schools have been increasing their tuition and other fees almost every year and yet there is no mechanism by which CHED can verify if private school owners strictly complied with allocating the proceeds to salary increases and facility improvement.

“By assigning auditing teams to monitor how the proceeds of the tuition fee hike was spent, we are actually teaching private higher educational institutions to justify their need to ask parents and students to shell out more for their school fees, and for parents to be more vigilant against tuition fee increases,” Gatchalian said.

He said he is set to file a bill that will further amend the Education Act of 1994 to disallow educational institutions that do not comply with the proportion of proceeds from increasing their fees for the next three years.

Based on data from its tuition monitor network, the NUSP revealed that some schools have expressed their intention to raise tuition by up to 13 percent, while other school fees can increase by 20 percent.

CHED reported that in academic year 2014-2015, only 287 private higher education institutions were permitted to increase fees, lower than the 354 private HEIs in the previous year. CHED had said it will provide “realistic estimates” by April since deadline of intended hikes in tuition and/or other school fees submissions is on April 1.

Reports said CHED is now working with the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) to create a systematic database and broadly acceptable framework for tuition and other school fees that will serve as guidelines to the agency in deciding the reasonable rate of increase per year.

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