/ 3 November 2020

THE FEDERATION of Associations of Private Schools Administrators thanked Congress for expanding the education subsidy to elementary students.

“FAPSA is thankful that finally the political leaders begin to listen to the clamor of private school administrators to extend the blessings of Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) to elementary,” Eleazardo Kasilag, the group’s president, said in a statement.

Kasilag noted that FAPSA was the first group to ask that subsidy be extended to pre-school and elementary.

“The FAPSA stand for subsidy extension, then, was initially appealed to the government  to address the congestion problem in the public school system and to financially assist the private school operation,” Kasilag said.

“The quality of education suffers as evidenced by PISA [Programme for International Student Assessment] lowest scoring, students already in the high school still hardly could read; annual demands for higher appropriation for school buildings, increase in pay, more books, etc.,” he added.

Expanding the GASTPE program could resolve the problem, Kasilag said.

“Now, the crisis faced by FAPSA schools has become survival. If this remains lip service, we can now expect the demise of small private schools and what shall remain are big schools with high fees and the free public schools,” he said.

Kasilag warned that the affordable middle schools shall cease to exist.

He pointed out that the voucher program should not be limited to high school students since about 40 percent of elementary students have not been able to move up to high school.

“By expanding the GASTPE program to elementary students, our enrolment rate would go up, which could add up to our much needed fund to remain operational,” Kasilag said.

The House Committee on Basic Education and Culture has started working on the extension of the voucher system to elementary and secondary education.

“We understand there is a technical working group being created and we wish to volunteer Rep. Ruth Mariano-Hernandez as a member. FAPSA, being the group that first exposed this and the one most directly affected, can share direct experience to substantiate the bill,” Kasilag said.