Tuition fee hike in private schools should be justified – DepEd

Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Wednesday, June 10, said tuition fee increases in private schools should be approved by the Department of Education's (DepEd) regional directors, and should be "justified."

"If a private school wants to increase tuition fee, this has to be approved by our regional directors. This has to be justified because according to the law, if tuition fee will increase, 70% of the increase will have to go to teacher’s salary aside from all other expenses," Briones said in a mix of English and Filipino during an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source. 

According to Briones, the decision for tuition fee hikes in private schools is "largely internal."

"It's largely internal and iba-iba ang policy nila but ang bottomline ay this has to be justified," Briones said. (It's largely internal and they [private schools]  have different policies, but the bottomline is this has to be justified.)

Briones shared that most concerns of private schools now is adjusting the itemized expenditures in school expenses to cater to the needs of the distance learning approach.

"Ang na-raise na issue ng private schools ay halimbawa may mga itemized na expenditures kung saan mapupunta ang tuition fee puwede ba raw kung library fee puwede ba nilang ilagay sa pagbili ng gadgets. (The issue raised by private schools was in the itemized expenditures, such as if they can reallocate the library fee to procuring gadgets). Those will be internal to the private schools itself," Briones said.

Briones also added these kinds of concerns have to be resolved by the schools and the parents.

"Kasi as a matter of principle, sila naman nag de-decide niyan. Choice ng parents kung ipadala nila ang mga anak nila sa private schools," Briones said. 

(Because as a matter of principle, they are the ones who will decide on it. It's also the choice of the parents to enroll their children to private schools.)

Following President Rodrigo Duterte's directive of "no vaccine, no classes", the DepEd said on Monday, June 8, it would postpone face-to-face classes until a vaccine against COVID-19 becomes available

The President also expressed doubts about the country's capability to implement Briones' idea. (READ: Duterte on DepEd's distance learning: 'I don't know if we're ready')

Despite calls for delaying classes, the DepEd said that its preparation for the blended learning or distance learning approach is "underway" so classes can start on August 24. (READ: Teachers' group wants class opening delayed to January 2021)

Distance learning means lessons will be delivered outside the traditional face-to-face setup. (READ: FAST FACTS: DepEd’s distance learning)

The decision to open schools in the middle of the health crisis had been met with criticism. (READ: No student left behind? During pandemic, education 'only for those who can afford')

Parents and students pointed out that the lockdown affected household finances. Many Filipinos don't even have access to a computer or the internet. 

As of Wednesday, the DepEd said that over 8 million public and private schools students have signed up for the opening of classes on August 24. 

The enrollment for basic education for this school year is being done remotely through phone or online platforms, and will last until June 30, the DepEd said. (READ: Remote enrollment in basic education will be implemented during pandemic)

Students who cannot enroll using any remote method, according to the DepEd, will be allowed in the last two weeks of June to physically register while observing physical distancing and health safety standards. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.

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