‘Tuition in private schools won’t increase too much’

Published by rudy Date posted on February 24, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Education Secretary Jesli Lapus is confident that private schools will not raise tuition fees too much and cause the exodus of students from private schools to already congested public schools.

Lapus, in an interview, said he is expecting private schools to be reasonable in setting tuition fees this school year, considering the economic situation in the country.

He pointed out that private schools are aware of the consequences on their enrollment of raising tuition fees in times of economic difficulties.

“I’m not panicking. They (private schools) will not shoot themselves in the foot,” Lapus said.

He said private schools have been reasonable in imposing tuition increases, citing the case of this school year when there was only an average hike of three to six percent.

While the Department of Education (DepEd) expects the migration of a number of private school students to public schools in 2009-2010, Lapus said there will be no “deluge” of transferees that will further strain the resources of the public school system.

In recent years, the DepEd has seen thousands of students from private schools transferring to public schools due to inability to cope with tuition rates in the private institutions.

The steady migration of students from private to public schools, in turn, has aggravated the problem of acute shortages of classrooms, textbooks, school furniture, and teachers in public schools.

To stem the migration, DepEd has started the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) program wherein they issue a P5,000 subsidy in the form of vouchers to help them stay in private schools.

Lapus said in DepEd’s 2009 budget, they have raised the GASTPE fund from P3 billion to P3.5 billion, allowing them to provide the subsidy to more students in private schools.

The GASTPE program, he said, was also an incentive for private schools not to raise tuition fees excessively.

“They will not price themselves out of the market to the extent that the GASTPE subsidy will not help,” Lapus said.- Rainier Allan Ronda, Philippine Star

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