THE Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday defended their decision allowing 260 private kindergarten, elementary and secondary schools in the National Capital Region (NCR) to increase their tuition and other school fees next for this school year.
Tonisito Umali, Education Assistant Secretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs, said they understood the criticism from some sectors about the tuition hikes.
The DepEd official, however, explained the number constitute only a very small part of the overall number of private schools currently operating.
“The number of schools granted tuition hikes account for only a small percentage of the total number of schools that applied for higher fees,” Umali said.
Unlike public schools that are subsidized by the government, private institutions have to rely on fees made by their students to sustain their operations, the DepEd official further explained.
School owners, he added, are also mindful of the fact that too high an increase would result in a decline in their enrolment.
Umali said private schools should conduct a genuine consultation with their stakeholders-parents, students and alumni before filing their application for tuition hikes.
Private schools, he added, have the right to determine the amount of tuition they charge students because they also need to raise teachers’ salaries and improve facilities.
Based on the 2010 Manual of Regulations of DepEd, 70 percent of any tuition hike should go to the upgrading of teachers salaries, 20 percent for the improvement of school facilities and equipment and, 10 percent as return on investment of the school owners.
In 2012, the education department approved a total of 117 private secondary schools to increase their tuition and 128 kindergarten and elementary schools were allowed to increase their school fees.
Umali added parents can also enroll their children in the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education in which the education department subsidizes the cost of children who could not be enrolled in public high schools in private institutions.
Neil A. Alcober