Private schools told to disclose fees

BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance mandating all private education institutions in the city to disclose their tuition and other fees prior to enrollment and providing stringent penalties for violation of the measure.

The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that the measure aims to assist families in making informed decisions through the promotion of transparency in all dealings and transactions with educational institutions, especially with the onset of the new enhanced basic education curriculum.

The ordinance stipulated that all private educational institutions in the city will be required to fully disclose their tuition and other school fees, and other terms and conditions prior to enrollment.

Under the ordinance, it shall be unlawful to disseminate false, deceptive, unfair, unconsumable or misleading information by print, radio, television, outdoor advertisement or other medium for the purpose of enticing, directly or indirectly, the enrollment of prospective students.

The ordinance added that any private education institutions found to be violating the pertinent [provisions of the measure shall be penalized by a fine of P2,000 for the first offense, a fine of P3,000 for the second offense and a fine of P5,000 and cancellation of business permit for the third offense.

The ordinance tasked the Permits and Licensing Division of the City Mayor’s Office in cooperation with the Baguio City Schools Division to monitor the compliance of private educational institutions.

Section 1, Article 14 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all. In Addition, the State recognizes the complimentary roles of public and private institutions in the educational system and shall exercise reasonable supervision and regulation of all educational institutions.

Further, Article 2 of the Consumer Act of the Philippines or Republic Act (RA) 7394, it is a State policy to provide information and education to facilitate a sound choice and properly exercise the rights of the consumers.

RA 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 implements the K to 12 basic education program that covers kindergarten and 12 years of basic education and the enhanced basic curriculum aims to produce Filipino graduates who are holistically developed with 21st century skills and for better work opportunities in the future.

Under the senior high school voucher program of the education department, students and their families are able to exercise better choice in deciding the senior high school program that is most relevant to their needs and career goals.

The voucher enables a student to claim a discount or deduction from the cost of tuition and other fees charged by a non-DepEd senior high school, however, should the total fees exceed the voucher amount, the beneficiary is expected to shoulder the difference.

By Dexter A. See

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