September 26, 2011
ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio is calling for the deletion of a provision in the national budget that allows public schools to augment their budgets through the collection of fees.
The lawmaker is referring to Special Provision Number 11 of the Department of Education budget in the General Appropriations Bill, “Augmentation of Appropriations of National Elementary and Secondary Schools.” This authorizes schools to augment their maintenance and operations budget through the collection of “fees, charges, and assessments…in the exercise of their functions.”
“This provision contradicts the Constitutional mandate that basic education shall be free,” said Tinio. “Commercialization of miscellaneous public school services can and does serve as a barrier to access, especially for the poorest students. This provision must be removed from the 2012 General Appropriations Act to mark government’s commitment to providing education for all.”
He pointed out that the provision, which has been in the General Appropriations Act for years, is no longer in harmony with recent DepEd policy on the collection of school fees. He cited DepEd Order No. 65, s. 2010, which instructs all concerned parties of DepEd to remove financial obstacles to enrollment, such as collection of fees, charges, and assessments, in national elementary and secondary schools.
“This policy states that there will be absolutely no collection of fees for Grades 1 to 4. The collection of fees is allowed for the higher grade and year levels starting at one month after the enrollment period, but only on a voluntary basis,” clarified Tinio.
“The conflict between existing law and current DepEd policy creates confusion among education stakeholders. We want to make the policy of ‘no collection of school fees’ clear and unambiguous to all parties concerned,” said Tinio. “Hopefully, this will resolve the disputes between school administrators, parents, and students that inevitably arise during the opening of the school year regarding collection of fees.”
Tinio noted that, upon questioning during the DepEd’s pre-plenary budget hearing before the Committee on Appropriations last September 15, Secretary Armin Luistro declared that the Deped is amenable to the deletion of the provision in question.
It was also revealed in the said hearing that the DepEd has been unable to comply with the reportorial requirements of the said provision.
Tinio has submitted his proposal to delete the said provision to the Committee on Appropriations as one of the amendments to the 2012 General Appropriations Bill. #
ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)
Julie Anne D. Tapit, Media Officer (0915-762-6522)