THE Department of Education (DepEd) 7 said only around 40 applications for tuition increase from private basic educational institutions in Central Visayas have been approved this year, just before the pandemic-induced community quarantine was first implemented on the last week of March 2020.
DepEd 7 director Salustiano Jimenez said this in response to the call of Rise for Education Alliance-Cebu (R4E-Cebu), a Cebu-based education advocacy group, for the education departments, DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education (Ched), to provide a moratorium on tuition and other fee increases.
Jimenez said of the 1,019 private schools in the region, they received only less than a hundred tuition increase applications and approved only about 40 applications for this school year.
The deliberation and approval, he said, happened prior to the pandemic as the yearly submission for application for increase in tuition and other miscellaneous fees starts every January and ends on March 30.
He said though the Secretary of Education has delegated the authority to approve tuition and fee increase applications to the regional directors, he cannot simply recall and disapprove those that were approved as this is beyond his authority as a regional director.
“There are some schools, whenever I receive some complaints about tuition or miscellaneous fees, we also call the attention of the school concerned especially if the miscellaneous fee is no longer appropriate,” he said.
Most of the schools, he said, have deducted fees and withheld miscellaneous fee increases as it is not feasible in distance learning.
The R4E-Cebu submitted to DepEd 7 and Ched 7 a Visayas-wide manifesto on Tuesday, Nov. 17 and asked a schedule for a dialogue with the two educational institutions.
Jimenez said more than 60 private basic educational institutions in the region, as of Nov. 16, 2020, have expressed intent to suspend operations for school year 2020-2021 due to the pandemic.
He has yet to provide the updated breakdown on this number.
In August, he said, at least 22 of these schools are in Cebu (Cebu City, Naga City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, Toledo City, Danao City and Carcar City), one in Bohol and one in Negros Oriental with majority of them kindergarten and pre-elementary schools.
Ched 7 director Maximo Aljibe said the application of 14 higher educational institutions (HEIs) for tuition increase have been discussed by the Commission En Banc and they are still awaiting the final release or advice from their central office.
Of the 14 remaining schools that applied for tuition hike, Aljibe said seven filed for tuition increase applicable only for incoming freshmen while the rest applied for a hike applicable to all year levels.
As DepEd 7 is working on the Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) approval for the limited face-to-face classes in Cebu Province (while following the prescribed health protocol), Aljibe, for Ched’s part, said no HEIs, so far, have implemented face-to-face learning as they are still awaiting specific guidelines on limited face-to-face classes from their central office and from the Department of Health (DOH).
Aljibe said though the IATF has allowed limited face-to-face classes in colleges and universities in areas under modified general community quarantine, the IATF guidelines also state that this is still subject to Ched and DOH guidelines.
Ched has yet to issue a policy to allow face-to-face classes. (WBS)