Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian, an education advocate, has moved for the creation of auditing bodies attached to the Commission on Higher Education or CHED that will monitor the adjustment in teachers’ salaries and improvement of school facilities that tuition fee increases are supposed to pay for.
Gatchalian, a majority member of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, is pushing for this amid reports gathered by the National Union of Students of the Philippines or NUSP that some 400 universities and colleges intend to increase their tuition and other school fees for the upcoming academic year.
The veteran lawmaker proposed that auditing bodies can be formed under CHED regional offices. The auditing bodies’ main task will be to monitor and evaluate whether a big portion of the proceeds from tuition fee hikes really goes to the salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff as provided for under CHED Memorandum Order No. 3, series of 2012.
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In the said measure, 70 percent of the proceeds shall be used as payment of increase in “salaries, wages, allowances, and other benefits of its teaching and non-teaching personnel and other staff, except administrators, who are principal stockholders of the HEI (higher education institution).”
At least 20 percent, meanwhile, shall be used for the improvement or modernization of “buildings, equipment, libraries, laboratories, gymnasia, and other similar facilities” and operation costs.
HEIs only have to submit to CHED a Certificate of Intended Compliance and a Certificate of Compliance both certified under oath by the school head to show where the proceeds of the school fees hike are going.
Other documents to be given to CHED on or before April 1 are the list of student council officers; certification on the conduct and results of consultation; comparative schedule of tuition and other fees for the current academic year and the proposed increases, and; a Letter of Advice by the school head informing CHED of the planned tuition increase.
The provisions apply to private HEIs.
Gatchalian is set to file a bill that will further amend the “Education Act of 1994” to disallow educational institutions that do not comply with the proportion of proceeds from increasing their fees for the next three years.
The solon, who is also known for his Nanay-Teacher Parenting Program, observed that private schools have been increasing their tuition and other fees almost every year and yet there is no mechanism by which CHED can verify if private school owners strictly complied with allocating the proceeds to salary increases and facility improvement.
“By assigning auditing teams to monitor how the proceeds of the tuition fee hike was spent, we are actually teaching private higher educational institutions to justify their need to ask parents and students to shell out more for their school fees, and for parents to be more vigilant against tuition fee increases,” Gatchalian said.
Based on data from its tuition monitor network, the NUSP revealed that some schools have already expressed their intention to raise tuition fees by up to 13 percent, while increases school fees can reach 20 percent.
CHED reported that in academic year 2014-2015, only 287 private higher education institutions were permitted to increase their fees, lower than the 354 private HEIs in the previous year. CHED had said it will provide “realistic estimates” by April since deadline of intended tuition and/or other school fees submissions is on April 1.
CHED, mentioned in reports, is now working with the Philippine Institute for Development Studies or PIDS to create a systematic, database, broadly acceptable framework for tuition and other school fees that will serve as guidelines to the agency in deciding the reasonable rate of increase per year. (Monica Cantilero)