~Dr. Caroline Marian S. Enriquez
Then till now, the challenges in the Philippine educational system remain the same but now they come clothed with a veneer of sophistication.
Way back during the Spanish colonial period, education in the Philippines was essentially delivered by the sectarian missionary schools that technically can be considered as private schools. And during the encomienda time, there was a semblance of government support to the sectarian schools directly or indirectly through a share in either the tributes collected by the encomenderos or were awarded properties during this time.
During the era of the American occupation, the sectarian schools that previously enjoyed some form of government assistance were denied this privilege; under the principle of separation between Church and State, which stipulates that subsidy in any form to private education under sectarian ownership was constitutionally prohibited. It was also a period of flux, where many of the enacted legislative measures had both beneficial effects in that it helped organized and established structures but at the same time, too prescriptive.
In the late 50’s, R.A. #74 which imposed a one percent tax on all tuition fees of private schools for the support of the additional personnel of the Bureau of Private Schools was repealed. And one of the following arguments used to repeal it stated that “Private education is not merely an adjunct of public education but its counterpart, on an equal plane, in the mission to educate the youth.”
Fast forward to 2018, we have by now evolved our educational systems, tweaked and re-organized government educational agencies, created new divisions within the system, created more rules and polices and have established more private schools and public schools. Amidst a more complex educational landscape, where government-funded state universities and local colleges and private educational institutions co-exist in the same geographical location; we face the same challenges as those during the post -war American period.
We ask the same questions, seek solutions for the same issues and continue the work for complementarity between the private and public educational institutions as well as concrete and sustainable government support.
We, at PACU have consistently pushed for these advocacies that will redound to promoting delivery of quality education, assist in crafting policies that will provide for equitable government support to private sector through UNIFAST as represented by Dr. Vincent Fabella and since August 2018, the PACU board and other school presidents have dialogued with around 14 congressmen, speakers and government officials. We have consistently explained to them the nuances on how much the private education sector has contributed to the development of our nation and the minimal government support that has been granted to us.
PACU has also been constantly collaborating with CHEd and DepEd in the implementation of the K-12 Law and the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Law, RA 10931. And more so PACU, through its member schools have been consistent partners of the government in the implementation of its various programs.
Part of the work that we have done these past 5 months included holding 2 academic management seminars for our member schools, the first one held last October 23-24 in Philippine Women’s University entitled “ Making K-12 Work “ with over 101 attendees.
The second one held last November 26-27 at Our Lady of Fatima University-Pampanga had over 226 participants in the seminar on “The Art and Practice of Deanship. “ For the first time in PACU history, both seminars featured live- streaming to our participants in Cebu hosted by Cebu Institute of Technology- University.
Position papers that we filed for and in behalf of private education included among others:
1.) House bill # 8083 (Trabaho Bill) where we re-iterated the following:
- The 1987 Constitution is unequivocal about the complementary roles of public and private education, and about the application of taxation to the educational system.
- That private education – recognized as critical to the development of the Philippines – is a heavily regulated industry with at least three government bodies overseeing quality: the DepEd, CHEd and TESDA. We also emphasized that in the matters of regulation particularly on establishment, recognition and operation of HEI’s, the brunt of compliance falls heavily on the private educational institutions compared to the public educational institutions.
- Government policies over the past decades have reduced the Constitutional mandate of complementarity. Section 7B of HB 8083 will likely continue the trend and thus should be rethought.
2.) House bill # 181 ( An act instituting Free Higher Education for Indigent students) Through COCOPEA, we strongly opposed this bill because it would require private higher institutions to admit, free of tuition fees, indigent students/beneficiaries the number of which shall be at least ten percent ( 10% ) of the total paying freshmen students
3.) Senate Bill # 1826. (An Act Strengthening Workers’ Right to Security of Tenure) We signified the necessity of retaining the 3 year probationary period for faculty in order to fully determine whether the faculty has acquired competency and mastery of the subjects he/she teaches.
4) We also filed a position paper with the NCR regional Tripartite wages and productivity board opposing the Php 334.00 across the board wage increase for all workers in the NCR and proposed the payment of allowances (COLA) and exempting these from income taxation and to consider raising the income tax brackets for tax exemptions not only for the minimum wage workers but also for the rank and file workers.
Indeed, through time, the call for greater government recognition and support for private education sector that has contributed much to the development of our nation is a common thread that is interwoven in our history. It is a constant challenge that besets private education and requires innovation and collaboration on the part of our school leaders in order to maintain our edge and viability.
On a lighter note allow me, on behalf of the PACU board, to extend our well-wishes to all of you for a Blessed Christmas and a Grace-filled year ahead.