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Over 350k high school students to get DepEd tuition subsidy

The Department of Education will provide subsidies for at least 350,000 incoming high school and Grade-VII students so they could study in private schools, a report on GMA News TV's “Balitanghali” said Friday.

According to the DepEd, the move aims to provide a solution for overcrowding in public schools nationwide.

DepEd spokesperson Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali said the subsidy will decongest public schools even without having to build new classrooms.

“For example in NCR (National Capital Region), as much as we would like to create more schools we don't have anymore buildable space. That's why the private schools in NCR are very crucial,” Umali said.

Students in Metro Manila who qualify for the Goverment Assistance for Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) program will receive P10,000 each in yearly subsidy.

Qualified students who are in other provinces will receive P6,500 each as part of tuition in accredited private schools.

The tuition balance not covered by the subsidized amount will be shouldered by the student, the report said.

Usually, families with an income bracket lower than the poverty threshold of P250,000 per year become the beneficiaries of GASTPE.


But some rights groups are proposing that the P7-billion GASTPE funding should instead be included in the allocation for the school year 2014-2015.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers Chairperson Benjamin Valbuena said this will allow all the students to enjoy the funds for GASTPE.

“Hindi rin nababawasan yung siksikan kasi kung magbibigay ng GASTPE, ilan lang yung mae-entitle... kumpara mo sa bilang ng lumilipat mula sa private patungo sa public school,” Valbuena said.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon also shared the same sentiments.

“Sa darating na budget hearings natin dapat hindi na doon yung focus sa pag bibigay ng pondo sa private schools. Instead dapat 'yung pondo na gugugulin para sa GASTPE ay maibigay nalang doon sa mga bata sa public schools mismo,” Ridon said.

According to the report, the government is currently spending P14,000 for the education of each public school student per year. — Andrei Medina/LBG, GMA News