Private schools want government subsidy expanded for K-12
MANILA — A group of private school administrators is calling on the next president to extend the government’s private education subsidy program to elementary students and enable schools cope with the demands of K to 12.
They also asked for a department that would address their sector’s issues and concerns.
Eleazardo Kasilag, president of the Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators (FAPSA), called on the presidential candidates, on Monday, to finally lay down their education programs, which he hoped would include the expansion of the Government Assistance for Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) program to elementary students.
Currently, under the GASTPE program, the Department of Education gives out at least P7,500 as subsidy to high school students who want to enroll in private schools. The program, which caters to at least a million students, was formed to address the congestion problem in the public school system.
Kasilag pointed out that the program should not be limited to high school students since around “40 percent” of elementary students have not been able to move up to high school. Expanding the GASTPE program could remedy the problem, Kasilag said.
FAPSA, which has around 10,000 members nationwide, also called on the presidential candidates to form a “Bureau of Private Education” for them “to really understand the plight of the private schools.”
The private education sector is now facing a “crisis,” according to Kasilag.
“The benefits given to the public schools are extreme that our students and teachers are transferring to the public school [system],” Kasilag said in a statement. (Public schools do not charge tuition and provide free textbooks to students although students will have to buy their own uniforms and pay some miscellaneous fees for school projects and maintenance. Public school teachers, on the average, are said to be earning more than private school teachers. However, public schools have been suffering from lack of classrooms, teacher shortage and lack of chairs, desks and equipment.)
Kasilag said a number of private schools could not afford the senior high school program since they couldn’t match the salary given to teachers by the government, at at least P25,000.
Kasilag said at this rate, they would need at least a hundred students to finance the P2 million they would need annually to shoulder the salary of eight teachers alone. By expanding the GASTPE program to elementary students, he said that their enrolment rate would go up, which could add up to their much-needed fund to offer a “viable” senior high school program. SFM
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