The House of Representatives on Monday endorsed for Senate approval a bill that will provide administrative sanctions against private elementary and high school educational institutions that will bar learners from taking scheduled periodic examinations due to unsettled financial obligations.
With an overwhelming 259 affirmative votes, the chamber has approved House Bill (HB) No. 7584, which allows students in private basic educational institutions to take examinations despite unpaid school fees if the same is due to emergencies, force majeure, and good cause or other justifiable reasons.
To balance student welfare with the needs of the private schools, Section 4 of the proposed law requires the parents or guardians of learners to execute a promissory note prior to the taking of examination.
The deferment of payment should also not go beyond the school year, except when allowed by the private basic education institutions, according to HB 7584.
The bill also allows school authorities to withhold the issuance of appropriate clearance and transfer credentials of elementary and secondary learners with unpaid financial obligations and refuse their enrollment in the next enrollment period until all previous delinquencies are fully paid.
To ensure compliance, the measure imposes administrative sanctions on private basic education institutions found guilty of violating any provision pursuant to the Department of Education’s powers under Batas Pambansa Blg. 232, otherwise known as the “Education Act of 1982” and Republic Act No. 9155, otherwise known as the “Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001”.
Parents, guardians, or learners found guilty of committing any act of fraud, falsehood or misrepresentation in availing themselves of the benefits will also be subject to appropriate administrative and disciplinary sanctions of the private basic education institutions.
With this important legislation, we hope to democratize access to private basic education, and allow our learners the chance to take exams if they have valid reasons for the non-payment of their tuition and other school fees,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said.
“We acknowledge that there are unforeseen emergencies and events that could prevent a family from paying their obligations but this should not jeopardize the learning and welfare of students. We hope to help them overcome this difficulty while also providing safeguards for the private basic schools,” Romualdez added.
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