THE Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday said it has assisted more than 800,000 students in private schools through the Government Assistance for Students and Teachers in Private Education (Gatspe) in this school year.
“Our mandate is to provide every Filipino child with access to quality education,” Education Secretary Armin Luistro said.
Luistro said the Gastpe is part of the department’s continuing thrust to democratize access to quality education.
Since the expansion of the Educational Service Contracting (ESC) scheme, the total number of students under the program has increased from 666,000 in school year 2009-2010 to 809,000 in school year 2013-2014. The number constitutes more than half of the total secondary private schools enrolment last year. More than 90 percent of the 800,000 ESC beneficiaries were enrolled in private schools outside Metro Manila.
The ESC program aims to decongest public secondary schools by “contracting” the excess capacities of private high schools through the provision of subsidies for students who, otherwise, would have gone to the public high schools.
Earlier this year, DepEd has increased the subsidy for students in private schools outside Metro Manila—from P6,500 to P7,500 per student per year. This increased subsidy will be provided to new ESC grantees (Grade 7 students) starting school year 2014-2015.
The past four years has also seen an increase in the number of new slots available from 214,000 in 2010 to 352,000 in 2014. DepEd is hoping to increase its coverage this year with total projected grantees of 995,000 or an increase of 44 percent on the total number of grantees from 690,000 in 2010. In terms of the budget, the annual allocation for Gastpe grantees grew by 52 percent–from P3.94 billion in school year 2010-2011 to P7.45 billion in school year 2014-2015.
Through the Gatspe, the government will be benefiting nearly one million private high school students from Grades 7 to 10 in school year 2014-2015.
ESC is a scheme under Gastpe wherein the government enables eligible students to pursue secondary schooling in private schools through the provision of a fixed annual subsidy to cover tuition and other school fees.