'Small drop' in tuition not enough — solon

Published June 17, 2020, 1:01 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Saying that a “small drop” in tuition is “not enough” to ease the financial plight of families of learners during the pandemic, Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Jane Elago batted anew on Wednesday for a moratorium on tuition and other school fee increases (TOSF) for the upcoming school year.

Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago ( FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago ( FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN)

She asked education authorities to take a second look at the policy guidelines on the determination and collection of TOSF.

“Cutting tuition and other school fees (TOSF) is not enough. All government agencies related to education must review its policy guidelines governing adjustment, refund, and transparency in the collection of TOSF following changes in learning modalities under a public health emergency,” she said in a Viber message to the Manila Bulletin.

In his public address on Monday, President Duterte demanded explanation from the Department of Education (DepEd) why there is only a “small drop” in tuition despite the shift to alternative learning.

“There needs to be a total overhaul in the determination of school fees considering the commercialized and deregulated system of education especially in the tertiary sector,” Elago added.

Elago had earlier asked DepEd to consider recommending to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) the imposition of moratorium on tuition and other fee increases for the upcoming school year to provide financial relief to the families of two million private school learners who are seen to transfer to public schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nananawagan tayong huwag ituloy ang pagtataas ng tuition at dagdag bayarin sa eskwelahan. Hindi dapat ang mga estudyante ang pumasan ng epekto ng COVID-19 sa mga eskwelahan,” Elago said. (We are appealing that the increase in tuition and other school fees should not push through. The students should not be burdened by the effect of the COVID-19 on the schools.)

Education Secretary Leonor Briones had earlier disclosed that around 10,654,795 learners have so far enrolled online.

Elago also sought the immediate passage of education emergency relief packages to extend financial assistance to students, teachers, school personnel, and educational institutions.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected education immensely. We strongly urge Congress to prioritize the passage of an education emergency relief package as part of the government’s overall pandemic response and recovery plan,” Elago said.

In January this year, Elago filed House Resolution No. 657 calling on the DepEd, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to impose tuition moratorium to assist families affected by various calamities, including those affected by the January 12 eruption of Taal Volcano.