House panel OKs bill banning ‘no permit, no exam’ rule in primary, secondary schools
MANILA, Philippines — A bill that would ban the ‘no permit, no examination’ policy in private and public elementary and secondary schools has been approved by a House of Representatives panel, subject to certain revisions due to concerns about private schools’ financial viability.
At the House Committee on basic education hearing on Tuesday, five bills were tackled — House Bills No. 1486, 3142, 4361, and 6540 — all seeking to stop the practice of restricting students from taking exams while still owing tuition.
Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr. moved to approve a consolidated version of the bills. However, he explicitly stated the need to discuss possibly placing provisions protecting private schools.
“Mr. Chairman, the five bills appear to have virtually the same contents. So Mr. Chairman, I am again moving for the approval of the bill prohibiting the imposition of ‘no permit, no exam’ policy in basic education institutions,” Bordado told the committee chair and Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo.
“However, we must provide some provisions to protect the vulnerable private schools, so moved Mr. Chairman,” he added.
Bordado’s specific mention of provisions to protect vulnerable private schools came about after some private school organizations voiced concerns about outrightly allowing anyone to take exams even if they have not settled their tuition fees.
According to the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines (Cocopea), such a proposal would put the financial viability of schools at risk, especially as a lot of basic educational institutions rely on timely payment of tuition fees to settle their dues — like salaries of teachers and staffers, and other utilities.
Romulo clarified if Bordado meant subjecting the consolidated version to style, considering that the latter explicitly mentioned shielding schools.
“Honorable Bordado, am I correct in understanding your motion? The motion is to consolidate and approve the five measures on the ‘no permit, no exam’ subject to the discussion on the justifiable reasons to be included?” Romulo asked.
“Yes, Mr. Chairman,” Bordado replied.
The House Committee on higher and technical education approved last September 20, a slightly similar bill. However, this proposal to ban the ‘no permit, no examination’ policy only applied to tertiary education levels or colleges and universities.
The pressure on students whose parents or guardians encounter financial difficulties due to school fees has been well documented, with some reportedly resorting to self-harm.
In 2013, the suicide of University of the Philippines (UP) student Kristel Tejada stirred the country after it was revealed that she took her own life after being forced to hold her studies because of financial woes.
The bill seeks to prevent similar incidents in the future, as students would be allowed to take their examinations even if the fees have not been settled yet.
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