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Gov’t vows subsidies for senior high students

The government seems unable to impose a moratorium on tuition increases but has promised to provide subsidies for students who will pursue the senior high school program in private schools or state colleges under the K-to-12 system.

The P12-billion subsidy program aims to help senior high school enrollees complete the last two years of the K-to-12 program, according to Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

“The senior high school program, which will be offered this year, will include a government subsidy through the voucher system. Around 90 percent of all grade 11 enrollees in private schools, SUCs (state universities and colleges) and LUCs (local universities and colleges) will be voucher beneficiaries,” Coloma said quoting Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

“Many senior high schools have announced they have no additional fees or top-up beyond the voucher amount. Of course, those that will enroll in the SH program in public schools will not need to pay any fees,” he added.

Coloma made the remarks in trying to allay concerns that the K-to-12 program would lead to higher tuition that add to the burden of parents in sending their children to school.

He said these concerns have stemmed from “lack of information on and understanding of the policies and processes put in place by government to ensure a smooth transition into and full implementation of the K-to-12 program.”

Under the new education system, the government has added two years – Grades 11 and 12 – to the free universal basic education program as mandated by the Constitution.

Citing information from Education undersecretary Reynaldo Laguna, Coloma said the Education department has enough funds to assist 1.5 million students entering the senior high school program. “The DepEd has assured that all those finishing Grade 10 will enter the senior high school program,” he added.

Under the SHS voucher program, a student will receive financial aid amounting to an average of P18,300 to cover the costs for one school year. The actual value of the voucher varies depending on the income class of the locality as well as the type of beneficiary or type of non-DepEd school.

Of the P12-billion funds, at least P11.2 billion will go to the implementation of the SHS voucher program for enrollees in private non-DepEd schools such as private schools and technical vocational institutions. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)