Scrap miscellaneous fees  temporarily, private schools implored

ECHOING the sentiments of parents, a stalwart of Lakas-CMD is urging owners of private schools to waive miscellaneous fees for this school year.

Deputy Majority Leader and Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “MIkee” Arroyo said  private schools should consider lowering school fees as the education sector is trying new modes of teaching and learning to save students from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Arroyo said that miscellaneous fees can be waived since students will not be using the school facilities because of the online studying and blended learning.

The member of Lakas-CMD said waiving the miscellaneous fees could only be temporary while the country is responding to the pandemic brought by the  COVID-19.

There are reports of parentscomplaining of still high tuition and miscellaneous fees charged by many private schools.

The school year will officially start on August 24 but the Department of Education (DepEd) ordered no face-to-face classes. The blended learning and online classes will be implemented to ensure the safety of the students.

“My office has been receiving a lot of complaints saying their schools have been charging them for miscellaneous fees when there is no way the students will be able to make use of them under the new normal,”  Arroyo said.

The miscellaneous fees being charged by schools include laboratory, library, medical and dental, information technology, audio visual, athletics, insurance, and other fees. One school was even charging for drinking water.

“How could the students, who have to stay at home and use their own resources, avail of these services? One parent came to me and said they were being charged more than P19,000 for miscellaneous fees. This amount could be used to buy a tablet which would be the basic tool for this online learning,” Arroyo stressed.

For those who cannot afford gadgets to go with the digital set-up, or those whose areas are hampered by technological incapacity, the DepEd will useits personnel to deliver modules and printed lessons to students right in their own homes.

This set-up was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte to prevent the spread of coronavirus among students and school personnel as other countries had experienced.

“I humbly ask the schools to please understand the situation of the parents and the students. Waiving those miscellaneous fees would mean savings for the parents who could use the money for other incidental expenses they could incur under the online-learning,”  Arroyo said.

“If face-to-face classes will resume within the school year, then by all means, charge the students with the corresponding fees. But for the meantime, please don’t slap them additional costs for any services they won’t be able to avail of under this set-up,” he added.