Some 21 schools in region have complied with requirements: DepEd 7 director

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Sunday, April 17, 2011


TWENTY-ONE private elementary and secondary schools in Central Visayas are set to raise their tuition fees this coming school year. Of these schools, 13 are in Cebu City and Cebu Province, according to a report of radio dyLA yesterday.

These schools include the St. Vincent Institute, Lahug Christian School, Capitol Center SDA Elementary School, Mandaue Christian School, Mother Serafina Learning Center, University of Cebu-Lapu-Lapu Mandaue Campus, University of San Jose-Recoletos, Gabriel Jurado Foundation School Inc., Sto. Tomas College and St. Bernard School.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Department of Education (DepEd) 7 Director Recaredo Borgonia said these schools were able to comply with the requirements for tuition increases, which include consultation with parents.

“These schools need additional funds for their operations,” Borgonia said.

He said the increases in tuition may force some students in private schools to transfer to public schools, but, based on experience, this will not be a cause for alarm.

Wrong timing

Aaron Pedrosa, secretary general of the Freedom from Debt Coalition Central Visayas, said tuition increases in private schools are a result of the government’s deregulation policy on education.

He called on DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education to “go beyond documentary requirements” and ensure that schools consult parents and students before approving increase in fees.

“The increases in tuition come at a time when the cost of commodities is rising. It’s not timely,” Pedrosa told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

Borgonia said DepEd’s Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (Gastpe) program will help lessen the burden of affected students.

Dr. Marcial Degamo, DepEd 7 chief on quality assurance and accountability division, told Sun.Star last Friday recipients of the Gastpe program will receive bigger subsidy this coming school year.

The program gives subsidy to poor but deserving graduates of public elementary schools who continue their secondary education in private schools.

Bigger subsidy

These students will now receive an annual subsidy of P5,500 from P5,000 in previous years, Degamo said.

Last year, about 56 percent of students in private high schools in the region were able to benefit from the Gastpe program, he said.

The program was established in 1994 in an effort to decongest public high schools by subsidizing the transfer of public high school students to private schools that can absorb more students.

Last month, the Department of Budget and Management released P5.769 billion for the Gastpe program, which is expected to benefit 910,902 students across the country.

Teachers in private schools covered by the program also receive P1,000 every month, on top of the salary they receive.

Last Monday, DepEd 7 officials warned private schools against operating without permits. DepEd 7 Assistant Director Car-melita Dulangon said enrolment in schools that have no authority to operate is not valid.

“There are many schools now sprouting like seedlings during summer,” she said during a forum attended by private school administrators from different divisions in Cebu.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 18, 2011.

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