THE move of the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) and Department of Education (DepEd) against the “no permit, no exam” policy did not seat well with the country's largest association of private elementary and secondary schools.

Officials said schools could not survive merely by promissory notes.

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“We at Fapsa strongly disagree with this. It is not well-thought out and will surely render small private schools, which dominate our roster, to close shop. The move may be very popular and timely for the polls this May but certainly it is not reasonable,” said Eleazardo Kasilag, president of the Federation of Private Schools and Administrators (Fapsa).

“The private schools are not subsidized by the government and we are practically living on the mercy of tuition fees,” he added.

Kasilag made the reaction after Ched Chairman Dr. Emmanuel Angeles issued Memorandum Order 02 Series of 2010 directing higher education institutions (HEI) to be flexible in the implementation of the “no permit, no exam” policy which was earlier criticized by various student groups.

Angeles said the memorandum is also in accordance with Republic Act 7722 otherwise known as the Higher Education Act of 1994.

The order directed HEIs to allow students to take their exams through the execution of a promissory note, guaranteed by their parents.

A promissory note guaranteed by their parents would be sufficient reason to allow students to take their exams, Ched’s memorandum order stated.

On Tuesday, DepEd Undersecretary for Programs and Projects Vilma Labrador said it is also planning a similar move as she disclosed their plans to talk to private school owners to discuss with them the controversial issue, especially as the final exams draws closer.

But Kasilag said any such move will “create a bandwagon effect” that would only leaves private school owners unable ultimately to bring about quality education.

“If we allow our students to always take the exams on the merit of promissory notes, it will create a bandwagon or pied piper effect. What shall we give to our teachers? They would also not like promissory notes in the payroll. What shall we give the PLDT, for water and power expenses? Either they would accept notes,” Kasilag added.

The educator noted that even before the issue came out in the open, most of Fapsa's members are already having trouble about students' promissory notes.

“Even before this hullaballoo, we already get enough problem about promissory notes. Making it official is like a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads,” he further said.

The group has about 1,600 member-schools in the National Capital Region (NCR) alone out of the 1,700. Nationwide, there are 8,177 private elementary and secondary schools.

Earlier, Kasilag warns of another round of tuition fee hike this coming school year (2010-2011) due to the continued failure of the government to address such problems as the exorbitant taxes levied by local government units despite private schools enjoying tax exempt status and the proliferation of fly-by-night institutions.

Aside from the taxes levied by local governments on private schools operating in their areas, Kasilag said Congress needs to address such perennial problems as the exodus of students to the public schools with unpaid accounts and the mushrooming of school without the necessary permits. (AH/Sunnex)