Perspectives on Deciding to Run Senior High Schools.

Some personal perspectives on Senior High School (SHS) – not with an intention of carving anything in stone, but of inviting discussion on them.

With the approval of the K-12 law (RA 10533) on May 15, 2013, kindergarten and Grades 11 and 12 are now requirements of basic education in the Philippines.  The latter is called Senior High School.

The implementing rules and regulation (IRR) for the K-12 law were promulgated on September 4, 2013,

Graduates of Junior High School will go to Senior High School in SY 2016-17.  In this school year, no college will accept freshmen, since graduation from SHS is a requirement for College.

All SHSs will prepare their graduates either for work in the labor mainstream, or to enter college.

The DepEd curriculum for Grades 11-12 should be finalized by the end of November, 2013.  Private schools, however, enjoy flexibility in the implementation of this curriculum as long as they achieve the College Readiness Standards promulgated by CHED Enbanc Resolution 298-2011 .

At the last meeting of the COCOPEA Board on 15 Nov. 2013, its President, Dr. Pat Lagunda, announced that interested schools should manifest their intention  to put up a Senior High School (SHS) to the DepEd by December.   To date, I have not been able to confirm this from the DepEd.  However, all administrators at this time ought to be deciding the issue.  DepEd needs to know the private sector commitment to SHS.

Of the 1.1 million cohort of junior high school (JHS) graduates in 2016 who will join the first cohort SHS in SY 2016-17, DepEd’s working estimate is that ca. 40% of these – or ca. 440,000 students – will be taken on by the private sector.  According to Bro. Armin, the working estimate is not based on a budgetary shortage to provide public schools for all, but on a calculated decision to provide an optimum educational environment to our students by providing them access both to public and private schools.

In the past, based on the Expanded GASTPE Law (RA 8545), government assisted financially challenged students through the educational service contracting (ESC) system.  Here, government contracted the schools to give access to these students.  The ESC specified a number of slots per school, and the slots were worth a certain amount of money of the slots were actually filled.  In  Region XI, these slots were worth PHP 6,000 each.  If a school had a hundred ESC slots, it would receive 600,000 for filling those slots with qualified students.

Things will be different for students going to SHS.   Each graduate of public JHS and each private JHS graduate who had benefitted from ESC will be given a voucher with a certain monetary value.  The student who wishes to go to a private school will use the voucher for education in a private school.   The voucher empowers the student to choose the school, even if it is not so that the voucher will necessarily cover the entire cost of education in a private school.

The value of the voucher is still to be determined after public hearings in the early 2014.

For now, it is arrived at by calculating for each region, including the NCR, what it would have cost to build the school on newly purchased land and to actually educate 40% of the entire student cohort.  The cost of land therefore becomes a key determinant of the value of the voucher.  Where land costs are high, as in the NCR, the voucher value is relatively high; where they are low, as in CARAGA, the voucher value is low.

The value of the voucher is also determined by whether the student opts for an academic track, which leads to college, or for a vocational technology track, which is normally more expensive than the academic track, and therefore is higher than the academic voucher by approximately 25%.

However, for national priority academic programs with high costs such as for competent teachers, laboratories and libraries, it is possible that DepEd provide “riders” directly to the schools for offering these programs.   Such programs include the natural sciences, pre-engineering course, and mathematics.

Full voucher values therefore swing from PHP 14,000 in the tier that includes CARAGA, and PHP 28,000 for the NCR tier.  Full voucher values in region XI is calculated to be about PHP 17,500.

Within a tier, some students will get full value vouchers, others less.  The value of the voucher of a JHS graduate of public school will be full, while the value of a private JHS graduate will be partial.  This is because it is assumed that the graduates of public JHSs are needier than the graduates of private JHSs.

Vouchers would be valid only for the year in which they are issued.  They would be issued not only for the K-=12 “transition years” (2016-20) but even beyond.

Should the providing private school charge more than the value of the voucher, the student is allowed to “top up” the voucher.  For instance, should the value of the voucher be PHP 18,000 but the cost of education in St. Stanislaus School is PHP 25,000, the student may top up his voucher with PHP 7,000 pesos to study there.

For SY 2016-17, in place of the number of paying students it has normally received into freshman college year, ADDU expects to receive the same number of paying students into its mainstream SHS.  Since it charges close to three times the value of the vouchers, it is not likely that many public school students will use their vouchers here.

On the assumption that there will be a shortage of private schools addressing the SHS needs of the 105,000 JHS graduates in SY 2016-17 in Region XI, ADDU is considering offering special SHS program parallel to its mainstream SHS program to receive public high school graduates with vouchers without a top up charge – at least for the transition years when the regional capacity to provide competent SHS education may be limited.  This would be possible if ADDU would engage a phalanx of its graduates to teach as “volunteer teachers”  in this special ADDU SHS.  Fresh college graduates are  qualified to teach in the SHS on the condition that they pass the LET within five years.

In a DACS sponsored event entitled, “Conversations on SHS”, presidents of DACS schools came together and in an unprecedented manner shared with each other what they were doing towards implementing a SHS.  The sharing was candid and rich.

Among the resolutions of this day was to work together with the DepEd schools to systematically establish a network of SHSs in Region XI.  The schools would complement each other, not compete against one another.  Preparation for this collaboration would include a DACS-DepEd “K-12 Readiness Survey and Expanded School Mapping Exercise” that would be carried out jointly by DACS and DepED researchers and form the basis for the regional collaboration.

I was happy yesterday when representative of the Samahan led by its President Robin Toncua came to my office to ask me about my call for volunteer teachers.  I was delighted they were already willing to start next year!

In discussing this meanwhile in an encounter with Br. Armin Luistro, FSC, he commented that this type of integrated public-private collaboration, which he called a “consortium,” is the best way to go.

I too think that the private sector must participate to the maximum in educating public school JHS graduates.  Through our private schools, we have been prized for offering higher-quality education.  Through our Catholic schools, we have combined excellence in academic instruction, often against great odds, with Catholic formation.  That is a mission and tradition we struggle to preserve.

About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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6 Responses to Perspectives on Deciding to Run Senior High Schools.

  1. rafa says:

    Father, ang hirap intindihin. For many parents, there is only one bottomline. HOW MUCH? Quality of ateneo and everything else is known and given. I guess, even if ateneo is talking from an educator’s point of view, as a service provider, it can already tell us what the cost to us. Thank you po. Already, affected parents are already crying with the additional 2 years. What more? pls tell. tnx again.

  2. An ADDU-provided special SHS program affordable with just a voucher. This seems to be a very good idea, and I hope it pushes through. I just wish there were institutions in region 8, Samar-Leyte, which could provide a similar service. I suspect there are very few such institutions (although Leyte State University, for example, may have relevant capability, but no resources and I suspect no existing high school). Could you share the estimates of possible cost considerations? Would it be possible to mobilize resources from rehabilitation funds for special SHS programs within region 8, even if they will be dependent on partner institutions outside the region for systems development and quality assurance? Could rehab funds cover the difference between actual costs of a viable program and the amount of the vouchers?
    There are also typhoon-ravaged areas outside region 8. Could San Carlos and Sacred Heart School-Jesuit in Cebu City, for example, be persuaded to organize programs for severely hit areas of Northern Cebu? I hope ADDU shares its experiences with other schools, and can encourage others to pitch in.

    “On the assumption that there will be a shortage of private schools addressing the SHS needs of the 105,000 JHS graduates in SY 2016-17 in Region XI, ADDU is considering offering special SHS program parallel to its mainstream SHS program to receive public high school graduates with vouchers without a top up charge – at least for the transition years when the regional capacity to provide competent SHS education may be limited. This would be possible if ADDU would engage a phalanx of its graduates to teach as “volunteer teachers” in this special ADDU SHS. Fresh college graduates are qualified to teach in the SHS on the condition that they pass the LET within five years.”

    Some additional thoughts on SHS for typhoon survivors, especially orphans. Could rehab donors fund a top-up to vouchers? Perhaps even individual donors could be mobilized although it would be better to provide some feedback to individual donors of the impact of their gifts, something like World Vision sponsorship programs with younger kids.

    • Thank you for these positive comments. We are sharing our ideas through this blog – and in other fora like the PAASCU, the CEAP, etc. The idea of scholarship donors for top-ups could be very, very helpful.

  3. Some questions about a parallel SHS program for voucher students without top-up: do you have some thoughts on how to handle components related to vocational competencies? I imagine the existing ADDU high school programs and geared for 100% college-bound students. Would a parallel program need to provide to TESDA-type qualifications?

    • We are considering something in the direction of shoe design and manufacturing, outside of other courses related to teaching assistants or IT technicians. We hope it will contribute to the economy of Davao and Mindanao.

  4. michael o. mastura says:

    Thank you Padre,
    We are a friend of Father Peter “Pedro” Walpole end many S.J.s. You have done broad guide towards decision points for us who can neither go to PAASCO nor CEAP. We run a modest endowment HEI and complete secondary and elementary school with unique curriculum at Sultan Kudarat Islamic Academy, a Foundation College.
    Michael O. Mastura and Lourdes Veloso-Mastura

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