DepEd, CHED extend voucher program for SHS students

DepEd, CHEd extend voucher program for SHS students

/ 05:30 AM January 16, 2024

A decade ago, the government rolled out the K-12 program. Back then, the Philippines was one among only three countries with a 10-year preuniversity cycle. The rest of the world was operating on a 13-year program: required kindergarten, six years of elementary school, four years of high school, and two years of senior high.


MANILA, Philippines The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) on Monday said they would extend the giving of subsidies in the form of vouchers to Grade 11 students who might be displaced due to the suspension of the senior high school (SHS) program in state and local universities and colleges (SUCs and LUCs).

During a hearing by the House committee on basic education and culture, Education Undersecretary Michael Poa said the two government departments would comply “provided there is a memorandum of agreement” outlining a clear timeline for the extension.


This means DepEd will continue to shoulder the costs of schooling for the more than 17,000 Grade 11 students who were not recipients of the DepEd’s voucher program but were still admitted into various SUCs and LUCs nationwide for the Academic Year (AY) 2023-2024.


Extended until 2025

DepEd will also extend their voucher program for AY 2024-2025 when they enter Grade 12.

Poa said the decision to extend was based on the two departments’ discussions and a directive from Vice President Sara Duterte, the concurrent education secretary.

DepEd also plans on plotting out all the public and private schools that offer senior high schools within 600 meters to 10 kilometers from current SUCs and LUCs to see whether they could absorb all the transferees.

Their initial findings show two to five schools offer senior high schools within that radius.

“Actually, 10 km is already far for us, but we would be happy to provide the committee members with the list of plotting we have done and to provide a clear timeline,” Poa said.

Ideal ratio

The update from DepEd comes nearly a month after the CHEd issued a memorandum reminding SUCs and LUCs there was no more legal basis for them to continue offering the SHS program as the five-year transition period for the K-12 (Kindergarten to Grade 12) program—originally from 2016 to 2021—had already lapsed.


Asked by Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez whether they already have the data on the new teacher-student ratio once more than 17,000 students transfer schools, Poa said they were still computing.

The ideal classroom size is one teacher for every 35 students.

Education Assistant Secretary Francis Bringas cited the University of the Philippines-Los Baños case, where there are around 124 Grade 11 students.

“If we transfer them to the nearest stand-alone high school in [the village of] Bayog, the resulting teacher-classroom ratio would be 1:49, which is still within the absorptive capacity,” said Bringas. This, is despite the number beyond the ideal 1:35 ratio.

Critical issues

In the same hearing, CHEd Chair Prospero de Vera III said that as of Jan. 11, out of the 103 SUCs, a total of 53 schools had stopped offering Grade 11 while 52 had stopped Grade 12.

The numbers are even higher for LUCs. Out of 114, a total of 104 schools have stopped offering Grade 11, and 97 are not offering Grade 12.

For now, De Vera said the Board of Regents in each SUC and LUC would need to discuss critical issues, like whether their charter allowed them to offer senior high school.

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SUCs are under the national government, while LUCs are being run by local governments.

TAGS: Commission on Higher Education, senior high school voucher program

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