Exodus from private to public schools seen if SUCs fully subsidized
The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) on Tuesday warned of a possible exodus of students from private to public institutions if the government would fully subsidize the education in state universities and colleges (SUCs).
The proposal to pay for the education SUC students was brought up by Senators Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and Juan Miguel Zubiri during the hearing of the Senate subcommittee on finance.
CHEd Chairperson Patricia Licuanan noted that most students in SUCs were already subsidized by the state and a fully subsidy by the government might spell exodus from private to public institutions.
“If the state institutions will be totally free, it might mean that there will be exodus from private higher education to public so ano na ang mangyayari sa (what will happen to) private institutions?” Licuanan said, responding to Ejercito’s queries.
The full subsidy, she said, might be granted only to the poorest but deserving students.
“What we should do is those who are really poor can be subsidized beyond tuition so that also include all the parallel cost, all the additional cost of a student and so to include dormitories and all the other fees that are required of institutions,” the chairperson said.
Zubiri noted that aside from their tuition, poor students find it more difficult to pay for their food, dormitory fees, books, transportation, among others.
The senator then asked again the CHEd if the proposed full subsidy for SUCs was possible.
“I’d really want to cooperate in this effort of making sure that those who really need support from government in terms of education get it and those who have more needs will get more,” Licuanan said.
But she said, “I don’t think tuition is the biggest hurdle, it’s really all the other cost.”
So even if the government makes SUCs free for all its students, Licuanan said, poor students would still have to pay for other expenses.
“And the other point I made earlier, there are poor students in private institutions as well. So our help must also consider them,” she said.
“If tuition is no longer being charged in public institutions, we could expect an exodus from private institutions to public institutions so we have to be able to tackle that challenge as well,” Licuanan added. RAM
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