While the Private Education Assistance Committee (PEAC) is urging the government not to marginalize private schools, Senator Win Gatchalian is seeking a Senate inquiry on the complementary roles of public and private schools to achieve the country’s national objectives and sustainable development goals in education.
PEAC is the body that implements programs on government assistance to private schools. In a televised interview, PEAC Executive Director Doris Ferrer said there is a need to close teachers’ salary gap. Ferrer also mentioned proposals to expand programs such as the Educational Service Contracting (ESC) to include elementary students. Through the ESC, the excess capacities of certified private junior high schools are contracted and allocated as slots for students who would have gone to public schools. The slots come with subsidies called ESC grants.
“Kasabay ng ating pagrepaso sa buong sektor ng edukasyon ang pagtugon natin sa mga hamong kinakaharap ng mga pribadong paaralang katuwang natin sa paghahatid ng dekalidad na edukasyon. Tutulungan natin silang makabangon, lalo na’t nakaranas sila ng matinding pinsala dahil sa pandemya ng COVID-19,” said Gatchalian.
For School Year (SY) 2021-2022, private school enrollment was 23 percent below pre-pandemic levels, causing the closure of 185 schools within the same period.
Last year, Gatchalian filed Proposed Senate No. 12, which seeks a Senate inquiry on strengthening the complementary roles of public and private institutions in the education system. Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, said there is a need to formulate a dynamic and responsive framework to further operationalize the principle of complementarity enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.
The lawmaker also pointed to the discrepancy in salaries between public and private school teachers. When the second semester of School Year (SY) 2019-2020 began, the average monthly salary of a public school teacher was P22,316. On the other hand, a survey by the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines (COCOPEA) on its member associations revealed that the average monthly salary of a private school teacher was P14,132 at the elementary level, P15,048 in junior high school, and P16,258 in senior high schools.
While Republic Act No. 6728, as amended, or the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education enabled public-private partnership in education through various forms of assistance, Gatchalian said challenges remain in implementing the law.