Manila, Philippines – The House of Representatives committee has given the green light to a bill that proposes the establishment of the Private Basic Education Voucher Program, extending government subsidies to students in private schools from kindergarten through secondary levels. This initiative represents a significant extension of government support to private education in the Philippines.
According to Philippines News Agency, it will determine the voucher amounts, ensuring that they are not less than the subsidies currently provided. The voucher assistance will be based on the tuition and other school fees, as well as the socio-economic needs of each student. Priority will be given to students from the most vulnerable and underprivileged segments, specifically those in the bottom first to fifth income deciles as determined by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). These priority students will receive higher voucher amounts.
During the hearing, the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, led by Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo, approved a substitute bill that would amend certain sections of the Republic Act (RA) 6728, known as the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education Act. The new program, as proposed, will provide government-issued vouchers to recognized private basic education schools, encompassing kindergarten, elementary, and secondary education. This expansion comes in addition to the current subsidies provided only to senior high schools.
The bill also includes provisions for the creation of the Bureau of Private Education (BPE) under the DepEd, which will oversee the administration, supervision, and regulation of private basic education institutions. This bureau will also be responsible for monitoring and assessing the implementation of policies, plans, and programs by these institutions. It will set and enforce minimum standards for programs and institutions of learning, ensuring high standards of excellence and accountability.
Furthermore, the committee approved House Bill 3174, authored by Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Ralph Recto, aiming to rationalize the allocation of the DepEd budget for capital outlay. This amendment to RA 7880, or the Fair and Equitable Access to Education Act, seeks to address the ongoing issue of classroom shortages in public schools.