By Jel Santos
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday assured the public that the agency remains committed to continue the implementation of the Senior High School Voucher Program (SHS VP).
Recently, DepEd said that the SHS VP for School Year (SY) 2019-2020 has yet to open, pending the approval of the 2019 national budget.
“DepEd will continue to engage the services of private educational institutions and non-DepEd public schools offering SHS through the voucher program under the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (E-GASTPE),” the agency said in a statement.
DepEd said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has issued Circular Letter No. 2019-01 (Release of Funds for the First Quarter of FY 2019), stating that, in the absence of the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA), the budgetary support to cover the operations of all national agencies is equivalent to the appropriations based on the FY 2018 GAA (R.A. No. 10964, or the “General Appropriations Act 2018,” as reenacted) or on the FY 2019 National Expenditure Program (NEP)—whichever is lower.
Under the FY 2018 GAA, the total appropriation for the SHS VP in private and non-DepEd schools was P14.4 billion, while that in the 2019 NEP is P20.3 billion.
Because of this, the agency said the program will be short of P5.9 billion. “In view of this, the application for the SHS VP for SY 2019-2020 is yet to be opened pending the issuance of the FY 2019 GAA.”
Meantime, DepEd said Grade 10 completers in SY 2018-2019 who fall under the following categories are automatically eligible and do not need to apply for vouchers: 1.) all Grade 10 completers in public schools operated by DepEd; 2.) all Grade 10 completers in state and local universities and colleges (SUCs and LUCs); and 3.) all Grade 10 completers in private schools who are ESC grantees.
“These automatic voucher recipients shall be accommodated in the program upon enrollment in any SHS VP-participating school,” the agency said.