PRIVATE colleges and universities expect to lose at least P150 billion within eight years due to the implementation of the K to 12 basic education program, officials said yesterday.

Officials of the Catholic Education Association of the Philippines (CEAP) said that their member-institutions are set to lose more than they bargained for if the national government does not improve the K to 12 program.

In Cebu, Catholic schools are also feeling some negative effects of the K to 12 program, including financial losses and the possibility that more teachers would be transferring to public schools because of the promise of higher pay.

In a press conference during the CEAP’s 2016 National Convention in Cebu yesterday, CEAP president Bro. Narciso “Jun” Erguiza told reporters that Catholic schools nationwide are expected to feel the effects of the transition process.

The first of two levels in Senior High School began to be implemented this school year.

Erguiza, who also heads the De La Salle Araneta University (DLSAU), said that majority of CEAP member-schools are complaining that the new basic education program has hurt them.

The losses are due to the absence of first-year college enrollees in this and the next school year, 2017-2018.

Erguiza pointed out that when the first set of graduates of the K to 12 program will enroll in college in 2019, the universities will have no enrollees in the third and fourth years.

Lawyer Joseph Noel Estrada, CEAP legal counsel, told reporters that while CEAP and various private educational institutions have helped the national government implement K to 12, the previous and current administrations have not assisted them nor cushioned the blow felt by private colleges and universities.

“We are ready for the challenges. I just don’t know how long we can survive given the limited support given by government,” Estrada added.

Fr. Dionisio Miranda, president of the University of San Carlos (USC) and a CEAP trustee, said that while schools that offer basic education programs can easily cope with the changes introduced by K to 12, some schools that offer only tertiary education programs are heading for disaster.

In the case of USC, Miranda said they are expected to lose more than P100 million per year due to the implementation of senior high school.

Miranda said that for this school year, they expected fewer than 5,000 new enrollees in the college level.

But with Senior High School underway, they have only 1,500 Grade 11 enrollees in USC’s North and South campuses, a far cry from the university’s usual freshmen enrolment rates per year.

Miranda said that while the national government is offering vouchers for Senior High School students, these aren’t enough.

He urged the national government to support Catholic-run universities and colleges who have been supportive of the K to 12 program from the start.

He also reminded the national government that private universities and colleges are doing more than their share in terms of offering affordable and quality tertiary education to the public.

“We want them to recognize the problem and act accordingly,” Miranda added.