Feature: SONA pronouncements on education subsidies delivered
By Bong Pedalino
Maasin City (July 19) -- The Department of Education's schools division in this city and the province have gotten their respective shares of financial subsidies intended for students entering secondary education in private schools.
Mr. Thomas Navarette, the one in-charge of the said DepEd subsidy program in the provincial schools division confirmed that the thirteen (13) private institutions of learning under his coverage have had a number of students enrolled under this kind of education assistance by the national government.
He, however, could not cite specific figures, saying the schools have not yet submitted a report in this regard, and there are times the reporting will be directly made to higher DepEd offices.
The subsidies were provided in Republic Act 8545, which covers, among others, the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (EGASTPE), Navarette informed PIA by phone this morning.
This has three major components: the education service contract (ESC) for those coming from elementary to high school, either private or public; the tuition fee subsidy (TFS), from private elementary to private high school; and the education voucher system (EVS), from public or private elementary schools to private high schools.
Navarette said that of the three components, the EVS began only last year, and its implementation has been selective for those disaster-prone areas, except Saint Bernard, which has already enjoyed quite a number of assistance.
For the schools division of Southern Leyte, EVS was implemented in three towns, namely, Hinunangan, Libagon, and Sogod, Navarette added.
At the city schools division, Susanita Lavina, the program in-charge, said some 40 EVS slots had been allotted for the current school year, distributed to two private schools, the College of Maasin (CM) and Saint Joseph College (SJC), although there was no data yet on particular number per school as no information was yet submitted.
Under the EVS scheme, every student is entitled to P 5,000.00 annual tuition subsidy, so if the private school concerned offered a lower or higher amount than the one given, then the parents either would get the balance or pay the remainder, whichever the case, Lavina said.
As to the ESC, Lavina said there would be no way of knowing how many had availed, since this assistance has been directly given from the DepEd national office to the private school.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in her State of the Nation Address (SONA) last year, 2007, had stressed that "we will give more high school scholarships".
And true to that SONA statement, some 563,906 students around the country were given financial subsidies, broken down as follows: 475,560 for education service contracting, and 88,346 for educational vouchers.
A fraction of that huge number has been felt in the province and the city, a clear manifestation that last year's SONA was on track and was delivered. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]