MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) will increase its subsidy for elementary graduates from public schools outside Metro Manila who wish to enroll in private schools.
DepEd Undersecretary for Finance and Administration Francisco Varela revealed this on Friday, May 30, during an interview with the media.
Effective this school year 2014-2015, the department will open 350,000 Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) slots to incoming junior high school freshmen nationwide.
Under the GASTPE program is the Education Service Contracting wherein government gives financial assistance to deserving elementary school graduates who wish to pursue their secondary education in private schools. (READ: School begins and guess what? Lectures don’t work)
For those outside Metro Manila, the subsidy will now be P7,500 – an increase of P1,000 from the previous P6,500. The subsidy for freshmen students in Metro Manila will remain at P10,000.
“We want to make it a little bit more equitable while recognizing that Metro Manila is more expensive, but for now, the recommendation is just to adjust these areas outside Metro Manila. But definitely we will look at the NCR subsidy also, maybe for future adjustments,” Varela said on Friday.
‘Healthier’ for Philippine education
To date, Varela estimates around 850,000-900,000 student-beneficiaries of the program, but the department will have an exact number once it gets actual enrollment figures by the end of June.
The program, he said, is good for the entire educational system because “we don’t have a single big provider.”
“It is healthier, we believe, to have a system where you have a strong state education system but not exclusive state, and that it helps the students because they have better choices, wider options beyond [the] economic realities that they face,” he added.
Classes will open in all public elementary and high schools on Monday, June 2, with a projected enrollment of at least 20,925,962. Last school year, around 3 million students in basic education were enrolled in private schools. (READ: Back-to-school shopping with half-a-peso in Divisoria)
DepEd approved the tuition increase in 1,299 private elementary and high schools in the country – 10% of the 12,875 private schools nationwide. The lowest increase granted was 1.35% while the highest increase was 35%, with majority or 311 of the schools located in Western Visayas. – Rappler.com