Ramirez: Regulate tuition for Basic Ed

Nestor Ramirez

THE disruption of the traditional education system and the failing economy courtesy of the Covid-19 pandemic made majority of parents scamper for school capable of implementing the online flexible learning method at the most reasonable price.

In my online search for a suitable school that can cater to the educational need of my three children under the new normal, I was amazed by the number of schools that popped up, offering online learning that I have not heard before and even imagined that they exist.

I was ecstatic with my discovery, but the joy immediately turned to downbeat after learning the tuition they charge to students who would not even spend a day inside their physical facility due to the prohibition of the Department of Education (DepEd) on face-to-face classes until a vaccine for Covid is discovered.

I was quite impressed with the schemes that they will implement based on the directive of DepEd to apply flexible blended online learning method through synchronous and asynchronous technology-mediated online classes, but still, the bottom line is how much parents can afford.

The school that offered the lowest tuition for their online class is located in Davao City with P 17,600, inclusive of registration and learning modules for all levels under the Basic Education, although geography is not an issue here since classes are online.

The other schools that I checked are insanely charging between P30,000 and P60,000 per student and an additional miscellaneous fee and cost of the learning material that will be used by the students, this even if the student would not step on the campus.

I could not understand why online schools charged that much when they can save a lot in their operating expenses considering that classes are done online and the teachers who will do the lecture is not even necessarily inside the campus to deliver instruction.

The pandemic has brought the economy of the world to its knees and this is not the right time to profit or take advantage of the situation by further emboldening parents who are mostly out of work for the last three months with their high fees.

I heard from fellow parents that they are seriously considering to transfer their children to public schools since the institutions where their students were enrolled in the last school year have not yet notified them if there is an adjustment in fees courtesy of the new normal.

One parent that I talked with said that they are like in a limbo after her husband who is an overseas contract worker was among those repatriated after their company in Europe stopped operation at the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak.

With most of the private schools still deliberating on what online delivery schemes they would adapt and how much tuition they would charge, many parents have already enrolled their children in public schools through the online enrollment program of DepEd.