Senator Win Gatchalian is seeking a Senate inquiry on strengthening the complementary roles of public and private schools to achieve the country’s national objectives and sustainable development goals in education.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education pointed to the urgency of addressing challenges hounding the private education sector, some of which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn. Enrollment for School Year (SY) 2021-2022, for instance, was 23 percent below pre-pandemic levels, which resulted in the closure of 185 private schools during this period.
In Proposed Senate Resolution No. 12, Gatchalian pointed out the need to formulate a dynamic and responsive framework to further operationalize the principle of complementarity between public and private institutions to establish an integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people which is in adherence to the mandate of the Constitution.
Another challenge of the education sector is the discrepancy in salaries between public and private school teachers, which resulted in the exodus of teachers to public schools. The average monthly public school teacher salary was P20,754 in 2019 and increased to P22,316 in 2020 when the second semester of SY 2019-2020 began. On the other hand, a survey done by the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines (COCOPEA) on its member associations revealed that the average monthly private school teacher was P14,132 at the elementary level, P15,048 in junior high school, and P16,258 in senior high schools.
Gatchalian also pointed to challenges in implementing Republic Act No. 6728, as amended, or the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (E-GASTPE), which enabled the use of public-private partnership in education through various forms of assistance to students and teachers. These forms of assistance were further expanded under Republic Act No. 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, also known as the K to 12 Law.
“Ang ating mga pribadong paaralan ay ating katuwang sa paghahatid ng dekalidad na edukasyon para sa ating mga kabataan. Dahil patuloy nilang hinaharap ang maraming mga hamon na lumala pa noong panahon ng pandemya, napapanahong pag-aralan natin kung paano sila makakabangon muli,” Gatchalian said.