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COVID-19 WATCH

DepEd appeals to extend leniency on tuition payments

Neil Alcober

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The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday appealed to private schools in the country extend leniency in the collection of tuition and other school fees as much as they can without compromising the school’s ability to ensure payment of salaries of their teachers and school personnel.

This comes amid the enhanced community quarantine placed over Luzon last week to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“Due to the travel restrictions and projected loss of income resulting from the ongoing suspension of business, students and parents may find difficulty in fulfilling their financial obligations to private schools,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.

The DepEd chief also noted that private schools may provide assistance such as not collecting fees during this period, extending deadlines for payment, suspending late payment penalties, and allowing payment on a staggered basis or allowing changes in payment methods.

“These, as well as other forms of assistance, will help significantly in alleviating the concerns of students and their families and allow them to focus on their health and safety during these difficult times,” said Briones.

The Education department also assured schools participating in the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) that it continues to process billing statements for beneficiaries of the Education Service Contracting Program, Teachers’ Salary Subsidy Program, and Senior High School Voucher Program during this period of enhanced community quarantine.

“DepEd understands the value of these payments to the schools’ operations and is expediting processing of all billing statements that have been submitted to the DepEd central office and its regional offices. Payments will be made as soon as possible, subject to the availability of funds,” Briones said, adding that her agency is “closely coordinating with the Department of Budget and Management on securing the necessary funds and ensuring their availability to meet DepEd’s financial requirements.”

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