Private schools seek gov’t funds to help see them through K to 12By Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Expecting losses in the billions of pesos once the Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K to 12) program is fully implemented, private colleges want more government funding to subsidize the schooling of incoming senior high school students in private schools.
The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) said it wanted to tie up with the Department of Education (DepEd) so that students in the new senior high school
curriculum—or Grades 11 and 12—could attend classes in private colleges.
“Instead of the DepEd trying to build more schools and since the Catholic schools and many private schools (will be) losing their students, why don’t they just bring students from the public schools to occupy the seats in the private schools?” said CEAP president Fr. Gregg Bañaga in an interview.
“Why don’t they use our buildings and facilities and our teachers? In that way it’s a win-win situation,” added Bañaga, the president of Adamson University.
The CEAP is the country’s biggest organization of Catholic schools with 1,345 members.
Under K to 12, two years will be added to high school to complete a 12-year basic education cycle, just as in most other nations.
Elementary school will be from Grades 1 to 6 while high school will cover Grades 7 to 12, with Grade 7 being implemented nationwide beginning this school year.
The first batch of seniors that will go on to Grade 11 and then 12 under the system will do so in 2016.
Bañaga said the CEAP had commissioned a study through the umbrella organization, the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea), on the financial impact of the K to 12 program on private schools by 2016 and beyond.
The CEAP president said colleges would be adversely affected for five years.
Losses in billions
“(The losses) go into the billions of pesos. However, it is for the common good so that even if we will suffer, we want it for the good of the country. But we’re also asking the DepEd for a private-public partnership,” he said.
Bañaga added the CEAP was even encouraging its members to implement the senior high school program earlier than 2016.
“Of course it will be a hard sell on the parents to bring their children into Grades 11 and 12 when it is not yet required,” he said.
This year, 30 schools had started implementing the new senior high school by having last year’s fourth-year students move up to Grade 11.
“There are already models (for the senior high school) and we are encouraging more of them,” Bañaga said.
At present, the DepEd’s private-public partnership with private school is through the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (Gastpe).
Under Gastpe, the government subsidizes the tuition of poor but deserving students in private high schools since they cannot be accommodated in the overcrowded public schools.
A million grantees
From its P238.8-billion budget this year, the DepEd has allocated P6.3 billion to Gastpe for about one million grantees.
Each grantee in the National Capital Region receives P10,000 while those in the provinces each receive P5,500 for tuition. The balance is paid by the students.
Malacañang has proposed to increase next year’s Gastpe fund to P7 billion.
Bañaga said Education Secretary Armin Luistro had assured CEAP he would work for an amendment to the Gastpe law to cover Grades 11 and 12.
But the CEAP also wanted the government to increase the subsidy itself and to subsidize more students in private high schools under the Education Service Contracting provision in Gastpe. Bañaga said the subsidy was not enough.
“In most schools, (with P10,000) that is perhaps only one half of the tuition,” he said.
Bañaga said most CEAP members, or about 900, were small mission schools in the rural areas that received the grant.
“These are struggling schools so they will be very much affected. In fact, today they are the ones that are receiving most of the ESC. They are surviving because of the government grant from the ESC,” he said.