Scrapping ‘no permit, no exam’ rule won’t aid students – private schools
MANILA, Philippines — Private schools are raising the alarm over proposed laws that would stop the “no permit, no exam” policy, saying the bills appear deceptive because they would only defer and do not remove the “contractual obligations” of students facing financial challenges.
The Davao Association of Catholic Schools (DACS) said the measures would not aid poverty-stricken students because they “[do] not relieve the student – or his/her parents or guardians – from fulfilling contractual obligations.”
“Students disadvantaged by poverty are not helped by postponing their contractual obligations. Legislation can alleviate the obligations for the deserving or remove them altogether,” DACS said in a statement.
The Association of Christian Schools, Colleges, and Universities (ACSCU) also asserted that several private schools have been offering varied payment schemes to ensure that students encountering financial issues can still comply with their dues – implying that Senate Bill No. 1359 and House Bill Nos. 6483 and 758 are not needed.
“The proposed bill[s] will restrict the ability of schools to continue offering these payment schemes and inadvertently limit access to students who are financially challenged to enroll in private schools. This will lead to increased migration of students to public institutions, which may worsen the overcrowding and limited capacities in these schools and lead to the deterioration of the delivery of quality education,” ACSCU said in the same statement.
“These proposed policies were passed with undue haste and without adequate consultation with the stakeholders directly affected by them. If enacted into law, they will have devastating repercussions for thousands of small private schools across the country,” it added.
The private schools insisted that passage and possible enactment of a measure that would stop the “no permit, no exam” policy would gravely hurt and even paralyze their operations. They warned that closing private schools is highly possible due to lack of income if such a policy is abolished.
Aside from DACS and ACSCU, other private schools opposing Senate Bill No. 1359 and House Bill Nos. 6483 and 758 are the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea), Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities, Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges, and Universities, and Unified TVET of the Philippines, Inc.
“Without tuition, or if its timely collection is impaired, private schools would be paralyzed, or worse, cease or close operations altogether. Simply put, if the law deprives them of reasonable collection of tuition, our private educational sector will collapse, and ultimately the entire Philippine education system, owing to its vital role in the delivery of education to Filipinos,” they said in the same statement Wednesday.
“After which, colleges and universities would run out of operating cash and would need to find external and other sources of financing (such as loans) to cover their costs,” they added.
House Bill No. 6483 was approved on December 12, 2022. In March this year, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 7584 while the upper chamber approved on third reading Senate Bill No. 1359, or the proposed ‘No Permit, No Exam’ Prohibition Act.
House Bill No. 6483, if enacted, would allow college students with unpaid tuition to take their exams on good cause while House Bill No. 7584 proposes the same policy for elementary and secondary students.
A bicameral conference committee has been created to address disagreeing provisions of House Bill Nos. 6483 and 7584 and Senate Bill No. 1359.
During the January 24 hearing of the House committee on basic education, Cocopea pointed out that private schools rely heavily on tuition to pay for the salaries of teachers, staffers and other utilities and expenses.
Hence, he stressed that delays in tuition payment would risk not only the financial viability of private schools but also the pay of their employees. With reports from Jezvette Kyelle Mapagdalita, trainee