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Catholic schools to implement K to 12, but maintains ‘No Permit, No Exam’ policy
By Kris Bayos on June 6, 2012
PRIVATE schools under the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) will comply with the government’s instruction to implement the Kindergarten to 12 (K to 12) basic education program starting this school year but they insist on continuing their infamous “No Permit, No Exam” policy.
The 1345 Catholic schools nationwide registered as CEAP members will continue to implement the infamous “No Permit, No Exam” policy even if a proposed law penalizing the school’s refusal to administer examination to students with delinquent fees is gaining support in the Senate and Houses of Representatives.
CEAP executive director Rhodora Angela Ferrer said their organization has been opposing the Anti-No Permit, No Exam bill, saying that Catholic schools merely relying on tuition to sustain their operation will find it difficult to operate if students are not obliged to settle their accounts as a requisite for taking preliminary, mid-term and final examinations.
“The existing policy in the Manual of Regulations, which does not allow schools to prevent students who have accounts from taking their final examinations, is fair enough to the student and the school,” Ferrer said.
“If the policy includes mid-term examinations, as the proposed bill suggests, private schools solely relying on tuition and school fees will find it difficult to manage their finances,” she added.
Ferrer urged the government to refrain from “over-regulating” private schools especially in the area of fiscal management since Catholic schools are non-stock and non-profit educational establishments.
“Parents are assured that all fees paid are used for school operations. And with the strong sense of mission of Catholic schools, parents get their money’s worth in terms of quality education for their children,” she said.
Ferrer stressed that it would be wrong to say that private schools, especially those identified with the CEAP, are charging “high” tuition and fees compared to public schools.
“Some Catholic schools, especially the mission schools charge very little. But since the public school system is free, it is but logical for parents who are economically burdened to opt to enroll their children in public schools even if they want to avail of Catholic education,” she said.
Admittedly, CEAP member-schools, especially those with clientele belonging to the lower economic levels, are experiencing a drop in their enrollees over the past school years.
Ferrer said the big established private schools, which have economically stable clientele, do not experience enrollment problems as those whose students are more prone to migrating to public schools due to their parent’s financial instability.
And contrary to public notion, public schools are not the only ones experiencing perennial operational problems like lack of classrooms or teachers. CEAP said private Catholic schools also have their own share of difficulties.
“One concern that has always been raised in private schools is the low salaries of teachers. Private schools teachers, in general, are paid lower than public school teachers. This results in the migration of teachers from private schools to public schools,” she said.
Despite the financial and operational setbacks that threaten the maintenance of private Catholic schools annually, Ferrer said congregations and diocesan systems try to sustain their schools’ operation to continue providing students with quality education.
Private schools, especially CEAP member-schools, will even endure the cost and adjustment for complying with the government-ordered shift from the existing 10-year basic education program to the internationally practiced 12-year cycle.
But the implementation of K to 12 basic education program for private schools will be implemented on a staggered basis, as approved by the Department of Education, to allow private schools to design and manage their transition from the old to new systems.
“The K to 12 program will be implemented by phases,” Ferrer said. “For this school year, only grades 1 and 7, which is technically year 1 in high school, will have a new curriculum. The rest of the grade levels in basic education will implement the old curriculum.”
“The additional two years in senior high school will start in 2016, that is, grade 11 shall start in 2016,” she added.
The flexibility that the government accorded to private schools in implementing K to 12 program is expected to cushion the “pains” of transition.
“Of course, the transition to K to 12 will not be exactly painless. But CEAP has already articulated its support for this reform initiative in several fora. At this time, we should come together to make this education reform happen,” she added.
Before the new school year opened, CEAP has conducted various K to 12 summits for private school administrators in Manila, Cebu, Davao, Dagupan and Naga. The CEAP website, www.ceap.org.ph has also published curriculum guides and other information on K to 12 for educators’ reference. (YouthPinoy)