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Private schools eye fee reduction with distance learning

Some private schools have been discussing a possible reduction on fees that they charge enrollees due to reduced activities and operations as the face-to-face classes in campuses are replaced by online or distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) managing director Joseph Noel Estrada said some items normally paid by students as part of other fees will no longer be around.

“May mga ganyan po na pag-uusap 'yung mga schools na halos pare-parehas sila ng manner of implementation. Syempre, may mawawala na items doon sa tuition,” Estrada said.

“Yung dati nilang sinisingil na, again, binabayad ng estudyante for participating physical and certain activity, kung wala ‘yung activity na ‘yun, definitely, hindi na isisingil ‘yun,” he added.

However, Estrada noted that 70 percent of private schools’ revenue goes to the salary of teachers and other personnel. He said the discount will depend on the capability of the school.

Estrada noted that even teachers were affected financially by the pandemic. He said some schools face the prospect of downsizing its personnel due to the expected lower number of enrollees.

COCOPEA earlier projected that around 2 million students in K-12 program will transfer from private to public schools following the health crisis that resukted in work stoppage and reduced economic activities. .

In a public briefing on Thursday, Department of Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno  Malaluan explained that the transition of face-to-face classes into different learning modalities will also cost the private schools.

“Doon sa tanong kung bakit pareho pa rin ang isisingil…samantalang...distance learning ang ibinibigay… gusto naming sabihin, sa karanasan ng DepEd, ay  ‘yung pagbabago ng mga lessons na nakaangkop sa loob ng silid-aralan ay para maihatid ito sa mga tahanan ay may kaakibat din na mga gastos,” he said.

Malaluan said the DepEd is realigning its budget in light of the adjustments due to the planned alternative approach of delivering education.

“Nagre-rebudget pa kami ngayon kung paano matutustusan ‘yung pag-convert noong materyales ng mga bata na angkop sa silid-aralan, face-to-face learning into, halimbawa, self-learning modules,” he said. —Joviland Rita/LDF, GMA News