The Senate and House of Representatives ratified recently the bicameral conference committee report on the corresponding Senate and House bills that prohibit the “no permit, no exam” policy in all educational institutions across the country as a measure to address the plight of the students against this oppressive policy.
The report used Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1359 and House Bill (HB) No. 7584.
“The Senate and House panel unanimously agreed on this version and fully support[ed] the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations in prohibiting the no permit, no exam policies in so far as disadvantaged students are concerned,” said Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero in a plenary session.
To save on time, Escudero moved that the joint explanatory statement of the committee conference on the disagreeing provisions of bills be inserted into the records of the session.
His motion was approved. Later in the session, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva motioned the adoption and ratification of the report.
Having received no objections from all senators present at the hall, the report was approved, ratified, and adopted.
Escudero, when he sponsored SBN 1359 in February, called the “no permit, no exam” policy as the cruelest of fines.
“By any moral yardstick, forcing a student to forfeit an exam is the cruelest of fines. It triggers a chain of events that is sometimes life-altering for the student, for the worse, not only of denied diplomas but also of dead dreams,” Escudero said then.
Earlier, The House of Representatives in the 19th Congress unanimously voted to pass a measure that would prohibit private basic education institutions from enforcing a “no permit, no exam” policy.
A total of 259 lawmakers last May 8, passed the bill during the chamber’s first session after a month-long break.
Under HB No. 7584, elementary and secondary learners in private schools would be able to take periodic and final exams despite their unpaid financial obligations, as long as parents or guardians submit a promissory note.
The unsettled dues, however, must be paid before the school year ends, unless the school allows otherwise.
School authorities would also be empowered to withhold clearance and transfer credentials, and refuse the enrollment of students with unpaid financial obligations.
Private schools that would violate the bill, if it is enacted, will face administrative sanctions from the Department of Education pursuant to existing laws.
The passage of HB 7584 comes five months after the same chamber approved HB 6483, a bill that allows college students with unsettled financial obligations to take their periodic and final exams.
The Senate also already passed in March a bill that has the intent of the two House bills.
One of the principal authors of the House bills was Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, who also chairs the House committee on higher and technical education. By Dexter A. See