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DepEd asked about reducing tuition fees amidst pandemic

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Amidst the threat of the coronavirus disease or COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers asked the Department of Education (DepEd) about the option of reducing tuition fees as most schools will not be made physically available for learners during the upcoming school year.

As the education bureau is set to implement its blended learning approach when classes open on August 24, students will be primarily based at home. Blended learning taps into the television, radio, electronic, and online media to deliver education.

Lawmakers discussed the matter with DepEd, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) during a meeting of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture and the House Committee on Higher Education and Technical Education.

DepEd Undersecretary Jesus Mateo noted that for a temporary prohibition on tuition fee increases to be implemented, DepEd must first consult with organized students and parents organizations. He also noted that DepEd has actually appealed to schools to postpone increasing tuition fees if these have already had tuition fee hikes in the past.

READ: Land Bank may alok na pautang para sa tuition

“Gusto ko lang po i-report na kakaunti lang po ‘yung nag-increase,” Mateo said. “Doon sa total application, kaunti lang po ‘yung inapprove natin na increases.”

(“I would just like to report that only a few [schools] issued increases. Among the total of those who applied, we only approved a few for increases.”)

COCOPEA also explained that a number of these fees are for recurring expenses, therefore, schools can opt to not charge fees if these are no longer necessary.

Photo: Facebook/DepEd Philippines

CHED chairman Prospero de Vera also shared that as much as 77 percent of the schools which earlier applied for tuition fee increase had withdrawn their applications.

“So the idea of a moratorium may not be needed given the fact that very few have actually applied for a tuition fee increase,” added De Vera.

De Vera also explained that a significant percentage of tuition fees go to the salaries of teachers, to keep wages competitive with those offered by state universities and colleges.

Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago advised that DepEd, CHED, and COCOPEA develop an advisory with clear guidelines on determining on what should be factored in and what should not be allowed to be covered by school fees.

Read Also: Quezon City naglaan ng P209 milyon para sa blended learning

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