Sunday, June 26, 2016

Partnering with Private Schools for shared education outcomes

Partnering with Private Schools for shared education outcomes (Day 46)

by Rey Laguda

(This is the 46th day of 50-day journey of DepEd Undersecretary Rey Laguda as being serialized here with his permission, culled from his Facebook account - Blogger/owner)

The Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) Act was passed in 1989, in conformity with the constitutional mandate to promote and make quality education available to all Filipinos. Government recognizes the complementary roles of public and private schools in the education system. The Act aims to provide tuition supplements, scholarship grants, faculty development funds and other forms of assistance to students and teachers in private schools. The Expanded GASTPE or E-GASTPE Act was passed nine years later, expanding the coverage of the law and adding more programs of assistance.

In accordance with this, DepEd implements the Education Service Contracting (ESC) and Teacher Salary Subsidy (TSS) Programs. The Department has always maintained that private schools play a key role in the delivery of quality basic education.

The ESC Program aims to improve access to quality junior high school (JHS) education by extending financial assistance to deserving elementary graduates who wish to pursue JHS in private schools. The grant covers four years of JHS from Grade 7 to Grade 10. The amount of subsidies have increased significantly through the years. It started with PhP1,700 per student in 1996, PhP2,500 in 2003, and PhP5,000 in 2007. It was later on recognized that tuition and other fees are higher in NCR than the rest of the country so a higher subsidy was given to NCR students. In 2008, it remained at PhP5,000 for non-NCR students, while it increased to PhP10,000 for NCR students. For this school year, the subsidy amounts to PhP8,500 for non-NCR and PhP11,000 for NCR students.

The ESC Program has reached out to more than 900K students in 2015, up from 600K in 2010, and 200K back when it started in 1996. It is expected that a million students will be supported by this program in about 3000 private schools in schoolyear 2016-17.

The TSS Program has been implemented side by side with the ESC since 2009. It grants salary subsidies to licensed teachers in ESC-participating schools. For the first year of implementation, the grant was computed based on the number of ESC grantees in the school (PhP250 per grantee). It changed to PhP12K per teacher in School Year 2010-2011. The grant has since increased to PhP18K per teacher starting last school year.

The Department spent PhP 6.6 billion for GASTPE in 2015, up from PhP 3.6B in 2010. The GASTPE budget continues to increase especially now that it has been extended to include assistance to senior high school (SHS) students through the SHS Voucher Program.



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