Private schools, colleges and universities affected by COVID-19 crisis
MANILA – With displaced overseas Filipino workers, downturn in tourism and headwinds in the economy, about 400 schools are considering ending their operations after August 31 this year.
Speaking over the weekly Tapatan sa Aristocrat, Atty. Joseph Noel Estrada, spokesperson for the Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAPSCU) and Coordinating Council for Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) said they recently conducted a survey where 508 institutions participated.
“One of the questions was how long will their resources last for payroll and operating costs and 400 of them said they will have funds until August 31. And from that time one, they will consider closing down their operations,” he said.
He explained the sample size is substantial although he has no exact figures of the number of schools affected because they still have to undergo a process. The procedures include official notice to the Department of Labor and Employment one month prior to closure and for the applicant to prepare for retrenchment and separation pay.
“They will also officially inform the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Education so their students can transfer to other institutions,” Atty. Estrada added. He admitted he’s been receiving calls from their members almost every day asking for the procedures leading to closure.
Atty. Estrada said school closure will definitely lead to displacement of school personnel, from teachers to non-teaching staff and students.
“Should students continue studying, they will have move to the already crowded public schools. Public schools may not have the absorptive capacity as reports have it 300,000 students moved from private basic education schools to government institutions,’ he further said.
He said those who opt to leave private schools are saddled with financial difficulties.
“Definitely they have left unpaid tuition fees. Who would take the burden if not those who remain with the private schools? And should the government fail to help the schools, teachers and students, school closures would undeniably take place,” he concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)
Atty. Joseph Noel Estrada, PAPSCU and COCOPEA Spokesperson. (Screen grab from Tapatan sa Aristocrat Virtual Edition/Melo M. Acuna)