DepEd checking on affected students as SUCs stop senior high program | Inquirer News
In the wake of CHED memorandum

DepEd checking on affected students as SUCs stop senior high program

DepEd checking on affected students as SUCs stop senior high program

The logo of the Department of Education. FILE PHOTO

The Department of Education (DepEd) is verifying if there are students in the senior high school (SHS) program who might be displaced due to its discontinuation in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs).

According to Education Undersecretary Michael Poa, DepEd had already stopped providing financial assistance to incoming Grade 11 students in SUCs and LUCs before the school year started, so that no one would be displaced.


Under Department Order No. 2023-020 issued on July 26, a month before the start of the current school year of 2023-2024, there would be no more financial assistance to the senior high school voucher program among state and local universities and colleges—except for Grade 12 students in that school year.


“We’re just letting [the Grade 12 students] finish,” Poa told the Inquirer on Tuesday.

Still, the department is checking with its regional offices if there are Grade 11 students accommodated by SUCs and LUCs who are not covered by the subsidy, as they would be the ones most likely to be displaced once all involved higher education institutions stop offering the SHS program.

Transition period

Memorandum No. 35, which the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) issued in 2016, provides for the involvement of SUCs and LUCs in basic education through the program.

The engagement should have been limited to a five-year transition period covering school years 2016 to 2021, in accordance with Republic Act No. 10533 on the K-12 educational system.

An earlier CHEd directive, Memorandum Order No. 32 issued in 2015, also specifies that SUCs and LUCs could offer SHS for five school years only.

More enrollees

But the program was extended “for a few more years” due to the pandemic, Poa said, adding that the current school year of 2023-2024 “will be the last year that the voucher program will extend to learners in the LUCs and SUCs.”


CHEd Chair Prospero de Vera III issued another memorandum on Dec. 18, 2023, directing these institutions to discontinue the SHS “as there is no longer legal basis to fund the same.”

In an interview last week, De Vera said he was compelled to issue that memorandum after learning that “a number” of SUCs and LUCs were still accommodating more senior high enrollees as of last year—a good two years since the transition period.

De Vera said SUCs and LUCs were already reminded earlier to phase out their senior high program and stop accepting more enrollees.

“The enrollment [in SUCs and LUCs] has already increased and stabilized. They need to use their facilities for college and university programs and students,” he said.

The CHEd chief noted further that “there were [SUCS and LUCs] who were requesting to be allowed to still offer SHS in their schools.”

Among these institutions, De Vera said, was Mindanao State University, where he sits as ex officio chair of its board of regents.

According to him, the board even passed a resolution to meet with DepEd to seek a “special consideration” for its case.


Asked about that matter, Poa said: “We’re willing to sit down with CHEd to discuss if there will be exceptions or what their recommendations are so as to explore if there is something we can do.”

He said that in case there are students affected by the discontinuation of the SHS, they could be accommodated in public or private schools as voucher recipients.

The DepEd official also clarified misconceptions on the issue as he emphasized that senior high would not be removed from the K-12 program.

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“We’re not removing Grades 11 and 12 because DepEd and CHEd cannot remove [SHS] unilaterally….What we’re talking about is the [discontinuation] of the SHS program in SUCs and LUCs because the transitory period is already over,” Poa said. INQ

TAGS: Department of Education, senior high school prorgram, state universities and college

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