Congressional probe on cutting aid to SHS students sought

Congressional probe on cutting aid to SHS students sought

By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter

A PHILIPPINE lawmaker has filed a resolution seeking an investigation on recent memos issued by the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Education (CHED) that cut off financial aid to senior high school (SHS) students.

“This issue highlights the failure of the government during the transition period that it even failed to simply call for a thorough consultation with all the stakeholders but now is unilaterally removing the subsidies for these students,” Party-List Rep. France L. Castro said in the resolution filed on Jan. 5

In a memo dated Dec. 18, the CHED said it is discontinuing the senior high school program in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs).

The agency, in a separate memo, had also cut off financial aid for Grades 11 and 12 students in these public colleges.

Ms. Castro reiterated the need for consultations with teachers and students before the education agencies implemented the memos.

There are about 17,751 Grade 11 students and 2,030,451 Grade 12 students enrolled in SUCs and LUCs, according to the DepEd.

Senators have called on DepEd and CHED to ensure students are not displaced in phasing out the senior high school program, especially in the provinces.

CHED Chairman Prospero E. de Vera III earlier said there was no legal basis to continue the SHS program since the transition period for the K to 12 program, which was from school years 2016-2017 to 2020-2021, is over.

“It is the duty of the House of Representatives to exercise its oversight function in ensuring that government programs and initiatives, particularly those concerning education are in line with the principles of equity, transparency and accountability,” Ms. Castro said.