SOME parents still prefer sending their children to public high schools due to the high tuition in private schools.

This, despite the offer of the Department of Education (DepEd) to provide “vouchers” for public school students who want to proceed to senior high school in private educational institutions.

Amaryllis Villarmia, DepEd 7 public information officer, told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday that some parents are complaining that their Senior High School (SHS) voucher program cannot shoulder the cost if their children are enrolled in private schools.

But Villarmia clarified that the decision of some parents to let their children stay in public schools is not related to the recent plan of 68 private schools in Central Visayas to raise their tuition.

According to DepEd’s official website, public school students who finished Grade 10 last school year will be qualified recipients of the SHS voucher program.

For students living in highly-urbanized areas outside the National Capital Region, the vouchers they receive will be equivalent to P20,000 and will be good for one school year.

Beneficiaries

In Cebu, students living in highly-urbanized cities of Cebu, Lapu-lapu and Mandaue are qualified to receive a P20,000 voucher from DepEd.

The same amount will be provided once the student is qualified to proceed to Grade 12.

For students living in rural areas outside NCR, they will receive P17,500.

Aside from public school students, private school students that are Education Service Contracting (ESC) grantees will also automatically receive vouchers.

In the case of ESC grantees, they will only receive 80 percent of the voucher amount.

According to a press statement, over 50,000 non-ESC private school students who completed Grade 10 have already been awarded vouchers as of May 8.

Around 1.3 million Grade 10 students are expected to enter Senior High School during the opening of classes next month, 1.1 million of whom will study in public school.

In Cebu, DepEd confirmed that 42 private elementary and secondary schools will raise their tuition and other fees before classes open in June.

Villarmia said the number of private schools that plan a tuition hike can go up in the next days as there are still 24 schools whose applications for tuition fee increase is still being decided by the DepEd 7 Legal Unit.

Overall, 68 out of 778 private educational institutions in Central Visayas submitted their applications for a tuition increase, Villarmia said.

Of the 68 private schools in Region 7, 25 are based in Bohol, 15 in Cebu City, 11 in Cebu Province, five in Talisay City, four in Carcar City, four in Lapu-Lapu City and one each from the cities of Mandaue, Naga, Danao and Tagbilaran in Bohol.

Applicants

In Cebu City, schools that applied for a tuition increase are Cambridge Child Development Center for Progress Corp., Capitol SDA Learning Center, CBD College, Cebu Mary Immaculate College, Inc-Jakosalem Campus, Child Learning Foundation Inc., Child Learning Foundation, Inc-Happy Valley, Formation School of Kiddies Learning Center, Concord Technical Institute Inc. and Sacred Heart School-Hijas de Jesus.

Other private schools in Cebu that applied for a tuition increase are the Salazar College of Science and Institute of Technology, two campuses of the St. Thomas Aquinas School of Bulacao, two campuses of the University of Cebu, University of San Jose-Recoletos, St. Francis College, Nissi Academy and the Asian Learning Center in Lapu-Lapu City.

In the tertiary level, 22 private higher education institutions (HEIs) in Central Visayas applied for a tuition increase, said Dr. Freddie Bernal of the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) 7.

But Bernal refused to identity the HEIs that applied for a tuition increase as only their central office in Manila can release full details.

For a parent like Ana Marie Paraan, the vouchers provided by DepEd is not enough to shoulder the expenses to enroll her kids to private schools for senior high.

Paraan, whose eldest daughter is going to be in Grade 11 in June, said she started looking at private schools in her hometown in Minglanilla for her daughter’s senior high studies.

But she lamented that the tuition of some of the private schools is more than P20,000.

Paraan lamented that aside from the additional expenses she has to spend for her daughter’s education, she also have to worry about other things like school supplies, among others.

“I’ll have to settle for a school where my daughter’s P20,000 voucher can be used. I don’t care if the school is in the City of Naga,” she said in Cebuano.