Transfer woes linger despite increase in gov’t subsidy

Jun. 23, 2014

TAGUM CITY—Private school administrators have expressed alarm over the rising number of students transferring to public schools despite the increase of government subsidy for private school education.

Their numbers could not be immediately determined but random interviews revealed that issues of “financial constraint”, “high tuition and other fees” have been a considerable factor of their exodus to public schools.

“When we interview parents why they want to transfer out their child(ren) in school. The usual reason they say is due to “financial constraint” and this is something that we consider seriously,”  Sr. Ma. Marilyn M. Cayapos, TDM, Principal of Maryknoll High School of New Corella told DavaoToday Monday.

Cayapos said that other parents are transferring their children due to joblessness.

On Monday, the Fund for Assistance to Private Education (Fape) and the Department of Education (Deped) announced the increase of subsidy for students under the Educational Service Contracting (ESC) of the Government Assistance for Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE).

For this School Year 2014-2015, ESC grantees outside Metro Manila will now receive P 7, 500 per student, which is an increase of P 1,000 from last year’s P 6, 500.00.

“Our mandate is to provide every Filipino child with access to quality education. The decision to increase the tuition subsidy under the ESC is part of our continuing thrust to democratize access to quality education across the country,” DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro in a statement said.

Close to a million students enrolled in Grades 7 to 10 this school year in various private schools acroos the country. A document obtained by DavaoToday showed that more than 800,000 students in private high schools were subsidized by the government under the ESC.

Emmalyn Policarpio, Secretary General of Teacher’s Dignity Coalition, in a text message to DavaoToday, said the “ESC program of the government is not effectively working because of the large influx of students in the public schools.”

For Zenaida Amante, 37 and a single mother whose four children are studying in a private school, the “high fees” in the private schools is the main culprit why they opted to move out their students from these schools.

“(W)e couldn’t afford anymore to pay the expensive fees in the school. Other fees such as textbooks and recollection fees are not yet included in the whole year assessment. For practicality, I believe it’s a wise decision to transfer them out,” Amante said.

In Davao region alone, a public school could have teacher-student ratio of1:60. Ideally, the standard teacher-student ratio is only 1:45 as provided in the DepEd Manual.

DepEd XI Spokesperson Jenielito “Dodong” Atillo attributed the influx of students from private schools to public schools mainly because of
“higher tuition and other fees imposed by the private schools.”

For this School Year 2014-2015,  107 private schools—a mixed of elementary and secondary schools—hiked their tuition and other fees
with a maximum increase of 10%.

Atillo noted that DepEd XI only approved 19% out of the 550 private schools in the entire Davao region since these schools “have complied with the statutory requirements such as the stakeholder’s consultation”

In Davao del Norte, five schools have been approved to increase its tuition and other fees namely: Maryknoll High School of Sto. Tomas,
Maryknoll High School of Asuncion, Maryknoll High School of New Corella, and Maryknoll High School of Maniki, and Kapalong College of

Six private schools in Tagum also increased their tuition fees, namely, St. Mary’s College of Tagum, Letran de Davao, San Lorenzo Ruiz Academy of Tagum, Tagum SDA Elementary School, and Arriesgado College Foundation

In Panabo City: Northern Paramedical and Technological College of Panabo and Maryknoll High School of Panabo. All schools are offering
complete Kindergarten, Elementary and Secondary courses.

Private school teachers are also transferring to public schools over issues of security of tenure and higher salaries.

Sr. Ma. Domitilla B. Sendino, O.P, Principal of Maryknoll High School of Lupon, said that “private schools are not receiving full funds from
the government and increases in their salary is dependent on the number of students enrolled. We also don’t have salary brackets in the
private schools.”

“Teachers’ salary is sourced only from the tuition. So if we will not increase our tuition fees then there’s no way we could raise their salary
also,” Sendino said.

The Manual of Regulations for Private Schools or MRPS mandates that 70% of approved tuition fee increases are allotted to teachers’ salary while 20% is for the improvement of school’s infrastructure and facilities; and 10 percent would be for the Return of Investment (ROI).

A private school teacher could have a starting minimum salary of P5,000 monthly unlike in public school, a Teacher I under Salary Grade
11 is at P18,549 excluding the allowances and bonuses.

But a DepEd official who asked anonymity for lack of authority to comment on the matter is puzzled over the yearly exodus of teachers
to public schools despite private schools justification that such increase will be allotted for salary increases of their teachers.

“How come more teachers are transferring now to public school? If only they (School Administrators) dutifully comply that 70% of approved tuition fee increases are allotted to teachers’ salary, I believe this will remedy the problem,” the DepeEd official lamented.

“To resolve this issue and  to be fair to all private teachers, a legislation of salary standardization is needed.  I pity them because they worked  hard for quality education but are  deprived of having good economic benefits for their families,” he said. Mart D. Sambalud/

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