The Education Department has permitted the request of 947 private elementary and high schools all over the country to hike their tuition this school year. This number represents seven percent of the 14,430 school operating nationwide.
According to the latest data released by the agency, Central Luzon got the most number of private schools increasing their tuition at 172, follow by Metro Manila (170) and Central Visayas (169).
Meanwhile, Western Visayas and Zambaonga Peninsula have no approved tuition hikes for this year.
The Department of Education (DepEd) officials attribute the increase to enable private schools to hike the salaries of their teachers.
Republic Act 6728 or the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education Law states that private schools are required to allocated 70% of the tuition increase for the payment of salaries, wages, allowances and other benefits of teaching and non-teaching staff.
Only 20% of the said increase can be allotted for the improvement of facilities or modernization of buildings, while 10% may be used for ROI (return of investment) or utilized for the operation of the institution.
The list of tertiary institutions that would be allowed to increase tuition and other fees will be finalized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Initial data shows 248 private colleges and universities have been endorsed by CHED regional offices for the application of tuition hike, but it is expected to rise in number as applications from Southern Tagalog has not yet been taken into account.
Meanwhile, a DepEd official clarified that private schools hiring unlicensed teachers will not be closed down like many feared.
DepEd Regional Director for Metro Manila Wilfredo Cabral said that his recent memorandum was only a reminder of the minimum qualification requirements for teachers upon the hiring process.
“We are trying to strike a balance on how to implement existing policy and address concerns of private schools,” Cabral said in an interview with the Philippine Star.
Cabral, in his memo, reiterated that “schools hiring personnel in pre-school, elementary and secondary level of basic education in all private schools shall possess appropriate educational qualifications and must pass the Licensure Examinations for Teachers (LET).”
He said the memorandum was aimed to encourage schools in supporting their teachers to take the examinations. However, private schools which hire unlicensed teachers will not be shut down.
Many stakeholders expressed concern over the cessation of private education institutions due to lack of teaching force if the said memorandum would be strictly implemented.