Free tuition sought for gov’t employees pursuing master’s degree
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Jinggoy Estrada has filed a bill seeking to grant free graduate education to government employees in state universities and colleges (SUCs).
Estrada’s office on Friday gave the media a copy of his Senate Bill 2277, or the proposed Government Employees Free MA Tuition in SUCs Act, which he filed on June 19.
In the bill’s explanatory note, Estrada highlighted that some government agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Presidential Communications Office, already provide scholarship grants for qualified employees to pursue a master’s degree.
“However, there are many other employees who intend to pursue higher education not only for their personal growth and career advancement but more importantly, to serve the public more effectively,” the lawmaker said.
Citing the Inventory of Government Human Resources of the Civil Service Commission, Estrada said the majority of over 1.8 million career and non-career employees in the government, as of June 30, 2022, “aspire to move up the ladder and assume greater responsibilities.”
Estrada underscored government workers’ “crucial role” in the country’s human resources in a separate statement.
“It is essential to offer them educational advancement opportunities to improve their skills. By enhancing the professionalization of civil servants, the efficient delivery of public services can be further improved, benefiting the people,” he said.
Exceptions to free tuition
Estrada, however, outlined in his proposal some exceptions to the free tuition grant:
- Students who were already granted a government-sponsored graduate education scholarship program in any public or private higher education institution in the country or abroad
- Students who fail to comply with the admission and retention policies of the SUC
- Students who fail to complete their master’s degree within a year after the period prescribed in their graduate education program
In May, Zambales 2nd District Rep. Doris Maniquiz filed House Bill 8159, seeking to grant free tuition to government employees pursuing a master’s degree in SUCs.
The legislative proposal is still pending with the House committee on higher and technical education.