DepEd: 1,232 private schools to hike tuition

Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - June 9, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – More than 1,200 private elementary and high schools have been allowed to increase tuition rates for the incoming school year, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).

Data as of June 6 showed that 1,232 private elementary and high schools across the country would increase their tuition rates. 

The number represents 10.21 percent of the total 12,072 private basic education schools operating in the country. 

“Schools that were approved for the tuition fee hike had undergone steps to ensure the increase is reasonable and in accordance with DepEd guidelines, which state that 70 percent of the increase must go to teachers’ salaries,” DepEd said. 

“Schools were asked to submit necessary documentation that proves consultation between the stakeholders occurred,” the agency added. 

But DepEd did not release the list of schools and the average increase it allowed for the incoming academic year.

DepEd said the bulk of elementary and high school students are enrolled in public schools. Only 12.2 percent or over 280,000 out of 24 million students are enrolled in private schools. 

Based on the breakdown released by DepEd, Metro Manila will have the most number of private schools that will increase tuition at 178 out of 1,686. 

It is followed by Regions 11 (165 out of 558), 3 (151 out of 1,505) and 4-A (127 out of 2,624). 

No private school was allowed to increase tuition at the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 

The Commission on Higher Education is also expected to release this week the number of private colleges and universities allowed to raise tuition for the incoming school year. 

‘K-12 results in more dropouts’

Meanwhile, previous estimates that showed up to a million students will drop out due to the K-12 are coming true, according to Kabataan party-list representative-elect Sarah Elago.

She noted that DepEd data show that only 26 percent or 342,000 of the 1.3 early registrants for Grade 11 have actually enrolled, a figure that foreshadows the unfolding grim reality under the full implementation of the K-12 program, which adds two more years in high school.

“The full implementation of the K-12 program is steadily rearing its ugly head, with data from the Department of Education showing that less than a third of the expected Grade 11 enrollees have actually enrolled,” Elago said in a statement.

DepEd earlier revealed that up to 1.5 million Grade 10 completers are expected to continue to the first level of senior high school this school year.

“Yet a few days before the school year starts, only a third of this figure have actually enrolled. This confirms our fears that more than a million students will be displaced and will be forced to drop out of school because their families cannot carry the additional economic burden that K-12 imposes,” Elago said.

“DepEd is downplaying the issue by saying that students are just taking their time to enroll. Why can’t they accept the fact that their problematic program is forcing millions of students to drop out?” she added.

A study jointly conducted by Kabataan party-list and the League of Filipino Students in 2015 showed that families will need to shell out an additional P100,000 per year in education-related expenses due to the added years of K-12.

“The added economic burden is coupled with the fact that of the 11,018 schools that will offer senior high, only 5,990 are DepEd public schools, which means that in some areas in the country, students who started out in public schools will have no choice but to enroll in private senior high schools or drop out,” she said.

She also noted that even DepEd’s “senior high school voucher program” would not be able to mitigate the impact of the sudden shift from public to private schools on students’ families.

“We have been receiving complaints from parents who say that the vouchers that DepEd provides are barely enough to cover for the full matriculation in private schools. The effect: there will still be significant out-of-pocket costs. Also, there are students who were not able to secure vouchers, and that’s a whole different story,” she explained.

“Clearly, the problems created by K-12 are not merely ‘birth pains’ but are deep-seated and hit hard at home. This is why we continue to call on the incoming Duterte administration to scrap the program and provide immediate remedial measures, including the option to let Grade 10 students have their high school diplomas already,” she added. – With Paolo Romero

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