PRIVATE school owners decried the lack of support from the government as they appealed for more financial assistance toward full implementation of Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-to-12) program by 2016.
Dr. Patricia Bustos-Lagunda, chairman of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea), wants the Department of Education (DepEd) to provide greater subsidy under its educational service contracting or the voucher system once it absorbs senior high school (grades 11 and 12) students.
“We want the government to help us out especially during this transition period [of the K-to-12]knowing that we have lesser revenue,” Bustos-Lagunda told reporters during a press briefing on Tuesday. “We strongly appeal to the government that the voucher system that they are deliberating would be enough to private educational sector, specifically the higher education institutions, for them to participate in the offering of senior high school.
“Probably that’s the best thing the government can do during the transition period is to help higher education institutions in financing senior high school students [those who will be graduating by 2016],” she said.
The Cocopea chair said the exact amount of subsidy for the senior high school has not been finalized yet, but she expressed hope that it would be enough for students to take senior high school in the private education sector.
“We all know that the public schools would not be enough to absorb incoming senior high school students so public-private partnership [PPP] arrangement would be very helpful in meeting the objective of the K-to-12,” Bustos-Lagunda said.
As part of the K-to-12 scheme, the DepEd will be extending financial assistance through a voucher system to incoming senior high school student so he or she can enroll in any eligible private or non-DepEd school of his or her choice under a full or partial tuition subsidy.
Under the voucher system, the government enters into contractual arrangements with eligible private and non-DepEd schools to subsidize in whole or in part the tuition and other fees of qualified students; through management contracts where the government enters into contractual arrangements with private and non-DepEd schools to manage the day-to-day operations of public schools; through forms of assistance under the “Adopt-a-School Program” or Republic Act 8525; or through other forms of financial arrangements under the principles of PPP.
The education department also provides assistance through the Expanded Government Assistance for Students and Teachers in Private Education Act (E-GASTPE) or Republic Act 8545 to incoming senior high school students from public schools, although it can also cover even graduates from private junior high schools.
The K-to-12 program, which adds two more years of senior high school among other enhancements, aims to improve the quality of education to keep up with international standards.
Cocopea is one of the country’s largest umbrella organizations of private schools. It is made up of five educational associations, which include the Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities; the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines; the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities; the Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges, and Universities; and the Technical-Vocational School Associations of the Philippines.