DepEd to private schools: Defer tuition increase
The Department of Education (DepEd) urged private schools on Thursday to avoid increasing tuition and other miscellaneous fees this school year as families cope with a slew of expenses amid the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on their livelihoods.
“We recognize the need to ensure the sustainability of private educational institutions so that they may continue to be viable partners in the delivery of quality basic education,” DepEd said in a statement.
“However, this objective must be balanced with the accessibility of these services.”
DepEd also called on private schools to be transparent about charges amid reports that certain schools sought payments inconsistent with distance learning. Fees this school year should reflect the “major change in learning delivery modality,” the department said.
Though DepEd is primarily in charge of running the country’s vast public school system, private schools must follow guidelines under DepEd Order No. 88, issued in 2010, should they seek to implement changes in their tuition fees and other charges.
Application for increase
They are also required to submit an application to DepEd in order to make these changes. The agency had not told reporters as of Thursday how many private schools had applied so far.
While DepEd said it “encourages private schools to defer increases on tuition and other school fees,” the agency stopped short of issuing a moratorium on applications for such increases.
This could be an acknowledgment of the difficult choices facing private schools, a majority of which operate on limited funding.
No pay for teachers
Joseph Noel Estrada, managing director of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations, has said 80 percent of private schools were unable to continue paying their teachers amid the pandemic.
Private school enrollment has also been dismal. The most recent DepEd figures recorded 558,705 students enrolled so far, compared to 13.8 million in public schools with just one week left to go in the online enrollment period.
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