Private schools call for legislative intervention amid huge drop in enrollment

Published August 23, 2021, 7:16 PM

by Ben Rosario

With a sharp drop in enrollment practically conspiring with the imposition of higher taxes by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the country’s private schools are turning to Congress for help in the swift adoption of legislative policy intervention.

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In a statement issued after the House of Representatives passed the bill they want approved, the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) called on the Senate to likewise act swiftly for the approval of its counterpart bill.

With a 203 affirmative and zero negative votes, the Lower House passed on third and final reading House Bill 9913 which proposes to define tax rates for proprietary schools in order to allow them to avail of the ten percent preferential rate on taxable income.

The bill also grants proprietary schools the privilege of availing of the one percent special tax rate until 2023.

“This latest enrolment data emphasizes how the pandemic has affected the viability of private educational institutions and the urgency of a policy intervention from the government,” said COCOPEA Chairman Anthony Jose M. Tamayo.

Tamayo, who is also president of the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU), noted that as of Monday, August 23, only 118,000 students enrolled in private basic education schools, the number being far below the 2 million students that enrolled during the 2020-21 academic year.

Before the pandemic hit the country in school year 2019-2020, the private basic education enrollment reached 4.3 million students.

“This latest enrollment data emphasizes how the pandemic has affected the viability of private educational institutions and the urgency of a policy intervention from the government,” said Tamayo.

The educator underscored the urgency of passing HB 9913 and its Senate counterpart.

“This legislative policy intervention, once enacted into law, will provide the needed stability to education not only in this time of pandemic but also for generations to come, as it aligns with all existing and future initiatives to revive our battered economy,” said Tamayo.

He aired hopes that Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, will promptly act to have the Upper House’s version of the bill passed.

 
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