MANILA, Philippines – Grade 10 completers from private schools have about a week to go to apply for the Department of Education's (DepEd) senior high school (SHS) voucher program.
The first batch under the K to 12 program – an estimated 1.2 million to 1.6 million students – will enter senior high's Grade 11 in 2016 and Grade 12 in 2017.
The national government allocated P12 billion for the program, of which P11.2 billion will be for enrollees in private non-DepEd schools, while the rest or P1 billion will be for enrollees in local universities and colleges (LUCs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), and public technical vocational institutions.
DepEd recently reopened online applications, which will last only until May 6. Before the reopening, around 50,000 applications were granted, on top of the number of students automatically eligible for the program.
DepEd expects about 70,000 to 75,000 students to apply for the program.
Here are a few things to remember about the program:
The May 6 deadline is for students from private schools who are not Education Service Contracting (ESC) grantees and will enter SHS in June, as the government fully implements the K to 12 program.
But two other groups can avail themselves of the voucher: Grade 10 completers from public schools, and Education Service Contracting grantees who completed Grade 10 in private schools.
These groups will be considered automatic beneficiaries and can enroll, if they wish, in private high schools, LUCs, and SUCs.
ESC grantees are students already pursuing their secondary education in private schools through the financial assistance of the government. The ESC is under the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education or GASTPE.
There is no grade requirement to qualify for the voucher, but private schools may require this from students during admission. Results of the voucher applications will be posted May 20 on the Private Education Assistance Committee's (PEAC) Online Voucher Application Portal.
*HUCs (based on 2010 figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority): Angeles, Bacolod, Baguio, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu City, Davao City, General Santos, Iligan, Iloilo City, Lapu-lapu, Lucena, Mandaue, Olongapo, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban, Zamboanga City
DepEd will release the value of the voucher on a per semester basis to the school where the recipient will enroll, and not directly to the student. It will only be valid if redeemed within the first semester of the school year immediately after the student completes Grade 10.
The voucher will cover only two years regardless of how long it will take for a student to finish SHS. It also covers the student's tuition and other school fees, but if these exceed the voucher amount, the student is expected to shoulder the rest of the fees.
The student will be required to attend the registration program, to be conducted and scheduled by the PEAC National Secretariat at selected areas in the regions. Students will be disqualified from the program if they fail to attend the scheduled registration.
Upon enrollment, qualified students need to bring the following:
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.