Private schools appeal to senators: Reconsider ‘no permit, no exam’ prohibition bill
MANILA, Philippines — Various organizations of private schools are asking senators to reconsider the “no permit, no exam” prohibition bill they approved recently.
The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines; Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities; Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges, and Universities; Association of Christian Schools, Colleges, and Universities; and Unified Technical Vocational Education and Training of the Philippines, Inc. issued an open letter to the Senate of the Philippines, appealing for the reconsideration of Senate Bill No. 1359, otherwise known as the No Permit, No Exam (NPNE) Prohibition Act.
According to the groups, the measure is “dangerous” as it may force many of their member schools to close down.
On March 20, the Senate approved on the third and final reading two education measures namely, SB Nos. 1359 and 1846 or the NPNE Prohibition Act and Student Loan Payment Moratorium During Disasters and Emergencies Act, respectively.
SB No. 1359 disallows any policy that bars students from taking educational assessments due to unpaid financial or property obligations.
The private schools said the measure put their sustainability at risk.
“Schools will not have a steady cash flow because the incentive to pay on time is removed, and parents and students will have the option to delay payment. Simulations show that private schools will run out of operating cash after just over two months, after which they will need to find other sources of financing or delay payment of operational expenses,” states the open letter of the private school organizations.
“An NPNE prohibition will adversely affect the schools’ viability, ultimately leading to reductions in investments, scaled-back operations, or closure. These would result in unemployment for teachers and staff. Displaced students will add to an already overburdened public education system,” it adds.
The private school groups likewise reasoned out that even while “no permit, no exam” policies are in place, students are still being allowed to enroll on an installment basis or take exams by submitting a promissory note.
No permit, no exam prohibition bill ‘a deadly measure’
In a separate statement, two other institutions expressed opposition to SB No.1359, citing its far-reaching consequences on the finances of private schools.
“Tuition fees are the lifeblood of private schools and their major source of cash to pay for faculty and non-teaching staff salaries, light and power, other utilities, security and janitorial services, and other operating expenses. Once students stop or delay paying their tuition fees, private schools will run out of cash and be forced to borrow from banks and other lenders,” University of Mindanao Chairman Guillermo Torres Jr. pointed out.
The Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT) also supported efforts to call for the reconsideration of SB No.1359, stressing that it will be “deadly” for private institutions, especially those that are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and previous tropical cyclones.
“Facing another threat of government regulation of NPNE is deadly, especially at this period when the school needs more funds to complete the rehabilitation of its campus, physical facilities, and even the bolstering of its online capability for the post-COVID learning approaches and the internationalization imperatives,” the CIT said.
“The lack of liquidity will thus force schools to borrow with interest, raising the cost of private education to the detriment of the families in the economic fringes but desirous of availing the boon of the private education brand,” it added.
The CIT asserted that laws should not be destructive as they should be supportive of the private sector’s growth.