Bending the truth

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By Neil Honeyman

An Independent View

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


MOST people’s definition of private schools are schools which are financially self-supporting as a result of fees paid by parents or guardians, possibly augmented by endowments from alumni and others.

We define public schools as those which are funded by the State.

There is, therefore, a clear separation in our minds between private and public schools.

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It is regrettable that the Department of Education (DepEd) is attempting, for reasons known only to itself, to muddy the waters by blurring the distinction between public and private schools.

Some schools in southern Negros Occidental are essentially public schools in that they are funded by DepEd. The funding is through DepEd’s Education Service Contracting (ESC) program. This funding in 2014-2015 amounts to P7, 500 per annum per student outside Metro Manila. These fees essentially cover the cost of running schools which are part of the ESC program. They are not private schools by our definition.

DepEd says that approximately 20 percent of secondary students attend private schools. This includes ESC funded schools. The proportion of secondary school students who attend genuinely private schools is only 8 percent.

Does it matter?

Yes, because DepEd is looking for the genuine private schools to mount the academic track of fifth and sixth year high school (Grades 11 and 12) from 2016. The economics do not work and no business case supporting private schools accepting this responsibility sought by DepEd can be made.

Private schools may be not for profit but they are not for loss either. P7, 500, the amount proposed by DepEd per student, does not get very far in a genuinely private school.

What will happen?

The tertiary sector has not confirmed that it will obey DepEd’s high-handed attitude that no high school graduate will enroll in tertiary education in 2016 and 2017.

There will be early signals.

Iloilo Scholastic Academy (ISA) has for the past seven years ran a summer school for those wishing to prepare for the University of the Philippines College Aptitude Test (UPCAT). If this school mounts this summer school program in 2015, we can assume that UP will be having its admission test in July 2015 for students wishing to enter UP in June 2016.

DepEd’s bossiness will have been challenged.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 09, 2014.

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