MANILA, Philippines?While insisting on their religious and academic freedoms when it comes to implementing provisions of the new Magna Carta of Women, private Catholic schools are asking for more and bigger subsidies from the government.
Monsignor Gerardo Santos, national president of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), said private schools needed more subsidies from the government because their lowly-paid teachers were transferring to the public schools.
?That?s not just okay with us. We are advocating it [subsidies]. We are fighting for it,? Santos said in a recent media briefing.
?We want it increased. I hope the government hears us. We really need more,? he said.
The subsidies come in the form of educational assistance for students who cannot be accommodated in the public schools and are instead absorbed in Catholic and other private schools.
The Department of Education estimated that almost half of the country?s 1.3-million private high school students are subsidized by public funds though the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE). The program provides a P10,000-subsidy to first- and second-year high school beneficiaries in Metro Manila.
Junior and senior high school beneficiaries in the metropolis get P5,000 while all the beneficiaries in the provinces also receive the same amount.
The government allotted P3.59 billion for the GASTPE program this year.
Santos said private schools hoped the government would increase the subsidy to Metro Manila students from P10,000 to P12,000 and, for those in the provinces, from P5,000 to P7,000.
?It?s hard for Catholic schools to increase their tuition because our students would just transfer to public schools and we know public schools are already overcrowded,? Santos said.
?So this is also assistance that private education is providing to complement or supplement the work of public schools,? Santos said.
He said the need for more government subsidies would become more apparent in the coming years with the approval of the new Salary Standardization Law, which increases the salary of public teachers.
Santos said private schools fear that their teachers will transfer to public schools with the approval of this new law.
?This is going to be a problem in the coming years. It is a threat to private schools because many of our private schools can only give a small salary (to their teachers) because they?re dependent on tuition and other fees while government fully subsidizes public schools,? Santos said.
Earlier, Catholic schools said they would seek an exemption from provisions of the new Magna Carta of Women that prohibits schools from expelling women?teachers or students?who get pregnant out of wedlock during their school term and other forms of sex discrimination.
Catholic schools also want to be exempted from teaching sex education in a secular way.
Government requires private schools to comply with a standard national curricula.