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DepEd program helps poor students study in private high schools

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—The Department of Education in Eastern Visayas will continue to help send students from poor families to private secondary schools under its education service contracting program.

“For the incoming school year (2011-2012), we expect about 27,000 secondary students to avail of the program which has benefited 26,011 students during the 2010-2011 school year,” Brenda Istoy, chief of the quality assurance and accountability division of the DepEd Region 8, said on Wednesday.

Istoy explained that the program was designed to help address the shortage of classrooms in public high schools.

“The program seeks to help decongest our school rooms, increase accessibility to education, and in the process, address the dropout rate problem, particularly in our high schools,” Istoy said.

The DepEd-8 records showed that the dropout rate in the secondary level covering the 2009-2010 school year was 4.83 percent. The DepEd-8 also disclosed that the region needed about 1,184 additional school rooms to meet the increasing number of students in the high school level.

Under the ESC, the student-beneficiary will get P5,000 financial assistance from the DepEd each school year, while parents will shoulder the balance of school expenses.

Last school year, 26,011 students from poor families who were enrolled in the region’s 98 private secondary schools, joined the program.

The government spent around P130.05 million for the ESC program during the school year 2010-2011, Istoy revealed.

In the last five years, the number of students who availed of the program continued to increase.

The students who availed of the program went up from 18,802 students in 2005-2006 to 19,568 in 2006-2007, 20,438 in 2007-2008, 22,232 in 2008-2009 and 23,194 in 2009-2010.

When the DepEd first implemented the program in 2005-2006, the government earmarked P71.85 million to get it off the ground.

Source: Inquirer
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