By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has proposed a one-time voucher for children of displaced overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to help them enroll this coming school year amid the pandemic.
“Yung mga anak ng OFWs na umuwi na at hindi madedeploy (The children of the OFWs who have returned home and will not be deployed) maybe we can give them a one-time grant just so they can pay the tuition fee for this school year,” CHED Chairman J. Prospero De Vera said in a virtual Senate hearing on Friday, May 29.
“The expectation is next school year, hopefully, the economy could pick up, the OFWs could be redeployed, so kakayanin na ng pamilya na bayaran yung tuition (so the family will be able to pay for the tuition),” he added.
According to De Vera, the proposed special voucher program could be granted to at least one child of every displaced OFW in the meantime as the health crisis persists. The CHED chairman added that the Commission could work with the Department of Labor and Employment to determine the list of the displaced OFWs.
De Vera said that the “tremendous” number of OFWs who might not be redeployed in time could result in the possibility of a significant dip in enrollment for the next school year “as they will not have any money for the education of their children when schools open in August.”
The higher education chief also asked the Senate to help the more than 50,000 part-time faculty members in private universities who are suffering due to the “No teach, No pay” policy scheme. “We have to help them especially because the opening of classes for private universities is moving to August. Many of them have not had anything since the end of the semester all the way to August. That’s about half a year already,” he added.
According to De Vera, these instructors should also be given financial aid by the government to help them cope with the “new normal” as they are not included in any amelioration program.