The national government is spending P53 billion this year to shoulder the tuition of underprivileged students “placed” in private high schools either because of the lack of public schools in their communities, or because existing public schools are already packed full.
Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo, a member of the House appropriations committee, said the P53 billion is broken down into: P39.3 billion for the Senior High School Voucher Program (SHSVP); P12.5 billion for the Junior High School Educational Service Contracting Program (JHSESC); and P1.4 billion for the Joint Delivery Voucher Program (JDVP).
The tuition subsidy programs all form part of the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE), according to Rillo.
“The P53 billion is nearly double the P28 billion budget for GASTPE in 2022. We, in Congress, are absolutely determined to help keep more students in school through GASTPE and other initiatives,” Rillo said.
Rillo has championed greater public access to education.
He is author of a bill that seeks to prohibit the oppressive “no permit, no exam” school policy that discriminates against students who are unable to pay their tuition installments on time.
“The enlarged GASTPE funding will also help keep private high schools financially viable,” Rillo pointed out.
Several private schools became financially distressed and discontinued operations at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Private Education Assistance Committee jointly manage the SHSVP and the JHSESC. The DepEd alone manages the JDVP.
The SHSVP provides tuition grants to enable qualified Grade 10 completers, as determined by DepEd, to enroll for Grades 11 and 12 in private high schools.
The JHSESC enables grantees, mostly public elementary school graduates, to enroll for Grades 7 to 10 in contracted private high schools.
The JDVP extends tuition grants to enable senior high school students taking the technical-vocational-livelihood track to enroll in private institutions or non-DepEd schools.
Based on the DepEd’s calendar, the school year 2023-2024 officially starts on Aug. 28, 2023 and ends on June 28 next year. (RD)